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Religio Medici, Hydriotaphia, and the Letter to a Friend, by Sir Thomas Browne

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instrument and proper corpse of the soul, but rather of
sense, and that the hand of reason. In our study of
anatomy there is a mass of mysterious philosophy, and
such as reduced the very heathens to divinity; yet,
amongst all those rare discoveries and curious pieces I
find in the fabrick of man, I do not so much content
myself, as in that I find not,--that is, no organ or
instrument for the rational soul; for in the brain,
which we term the seat of reason, there is not anything
of moment more than I can discover in the crany of a
beast; and this is a sensible and no inconsiderable
argument of the inorganity of the soul, at least in that
sense we usually so conceive it. Thus we are men, and
we know not how; there is something in us that can
be without us, and will be after us, though it is strange
that it hath no history what it was before us, nor cannot
tell how it entered in us.

Sect. 37.--Now, for these walls of flesh, wherein the
soul doth seem to be immured before the resurrection,
it is nothing but an elemental composition, and a
fabrick that must fall to ashes. "All flesh is grass," is
not only metaphorically, but literally, true; for all
those creatures we behold are but the herbs of the field,
digested into flesh in them, or more remotely carnified
in ourselves. Nay, further, we are what we all abhor,
anthropophagi, and cannibals, devourers not only of men,
but of ourselves; and that not in an allegory but a
positive truth: for all this mass of flesh which we be-
hold, came in at our mouths: this frame we look upon,
hath been upon our trenchers; in brief, we have devoured
ourselves. I cannot believe the wisdom of Pythagoras
did ever positively, and in a literal sense, affirm his
metempsychosis, or impossible transmigration of the
souls of men into beasts. Of all metamorphoses or
transmigrations, I believe only one, that is of Lot's
wife; for that of Nabuchodonosor proceeded not so far.
In all others I conceive there is no further verity than
is contained in their implicit sense and morality. I
believe that the whole frame of a beast doth perish, and
is left in the same state after death as before it was
materialled unto life: that the souls of men know
neither contrary nor corruption; that they subsist be-
yond the body, and outlive death by the privilege of
their proper natures, and without a miracle: that the
souls of the faithful, as they leave earth, take possession
of heaven; that those apparitions and ghosts of departed
persons are not the wandering souls of men, but the
unquiet walks of devils, prompting and suggesting us
unto mischief, blood, and villany; instilling and steal-
ing into our hearts that the blessed spirits are not at
rest in their graves, but wander, solicitous of the affairs
of the world. But that those phantasms appear often,
and do frequent cemeteries, charnel-houses, and churches,
it is because those are the dormitories of the dead, where
the devil, like an insolent champion, beholds with pride
the spoils and trophies of his victory over Adam.

Sect. 38.--This is that dismal conquest we all deplore,
that makes us so often cry, O Adam, quid fecisti? I
thank God I have not those strait ligaments, or narrow
obligations to the world, as to dote on life, or be con-
vulsed and tremble at the name of death. Not that I
am insensible of the dread and horror thereof; or, by
raking into the bowels of the deceased, continual sight
of anatomies, skeletons, or cadaverous relicks, like ves-
pilloes, or gravemakers, I am become stupid, or have
forgot the apprehension of mortality; but that, marshal-
ling all the horrors, and contemplating the extremities
thereof, I find not anything therein able to daunt the
courage of a man, much less a well-resolved Christian;
and therefore am not angry at the error of our first
parents, or unwilling to bear a part of this common
fate, and, like the best of them, to die; that is, to
cease to breathe, to take a farewell of the elements; to
be a kind of nothing for a moment; to be within one
instant of a spirit. When I take a full view and circle
of myself without this reasonable moderator, and equal
piece of justice, death, I do conceive myself the miser-
ablest person extant. Were there not another life that
I hope for, all the vanities of this world should not
entreat a moment's breath from me. Could the devil
work my belief to imagine I could never die, I would
not outlive that very thought. I have so abject a con-
ceit of this common way of existence, this retaining to
the sun and elements, I cannot think this is to be a
man, or to live according to the dignity of humanity.
In expectation of a better, I can with patience embrace
this life; yet, in my best meditations, do often defy
death. I honour any man that contemns it; nor can I
highly love any that is afraid of it: this makes me
naturally love a soldier, and honour those tattered and
contemptible regiments, that will die at the command
of a sergeant. For a pagan there may be some motives
to be in love with life; but, for a Christian to be amazed
at death, I see not how he can escape this dilemma--
that he is too sensible of this life, or hopeless of the
life to come.

Sect. 39.--Some divines<52> count Adam thirty years
old at his creation, because they suppose him created in
the perfect age and stature of man: and surely we are
all out of the computation of our age; and every man
is some months older than he bethinks him; for we
live, move, have a being, and are subject to the actions
of the elements, and the malice of diseases, in that other
world, the truest microcosm, the womb of our mother;
for besides that general and common existence we are
conceived to hold in our chaos, and whilst we sleep
within the bosom of our causes, we enjoy a being and
life in three distinct worlds, wherein we receive most
manifest gradations. In that obscure world, the womb
of our mother, our time is short, computed by the
moon; yet longer than the days of many creatures that
behold the sun; ourselves being not yet without life,
sense, and reason;<53> though, for the manifestation of
its actions, it awaits the opportunity of objects, and
seems to live there but in its root and soul of vegetation.
Entering afterwards upon the scene of the world, we
arise up and become another creature; performing the
reasonable actions of man, and obscurely manifesting
that part of divinity in us, but not in complement and
perfection, till we have once more cast our secundine,
that is, this slough of flesh, and are delivered into the
last world, that is, that ineffable place of Paul, that
proper ubi of spirits. The smattering I have of the
philosopher's stone (which is something more than the
perfect exaltation<54> of gold) hath taught me a great deal
of divinity, and instructed my belief, how that immortal
spirit and incorruptible substance of my soul may lie
obscure, and sleep a while within this house of flesh.
Those strange and mystical transmigrations that I have
observed in silkworms turned my philosophy into
divinity. There is in these works of nature, which
seem to puzzle reason, something divine; and hath
more in it than the eye of a common spectator doth

Sect. 40.--I am naturally bashful; nor hath conver-
sation, age, or travel, been able to effront or enharden
me; yet I have one part of modesty, which I have
seldom discovered in another, that is (to speak truly),
I am not so much afraid of death as ashamed thereof;
'tis the very disgrace and ignominy of our natures, that
in a moment can so disfigure us, that our nearest
friends, wife, and children, stand afraid, and start at us.
The birds and beasts of the field, that before, in a
natural fear, obeyed us, forgetting all allegiance, begin
to prey upon us. This very conceit hath, in a tempest,
disposed and left me willing to be swallowed up in the
abyss of waters, wherein I had perished unseen, un-
pitied, without wondering eyes, tears of pity, lectures
of mortality, and none had said, "Quantum mutatus ab
illo!" Not that I am ashamed of the anatomy of my
parts, or can accuse nature of playing the bungler in
any part of me, or my own vicious life for contracting
any shameful disease upon me, whereby I might not
call myself as wholesome a morsel for the worms as

Sect. 41.--Some, upon the courage of a fruitful issue,
wherein, as in the truest chronicle, they seem to outlive
themselves, can with greater patience away with death.
This conceit and counterfeit subsisting in our progenies
seems to be a mere fallacy, unworthy the desire of a
man, that can but conceive a thought of the next world;
who, in a nobler ambition, should desire to live in his
substance in heaven, rather than his name and shadow
in the earth. And therefore, at my death, I mean to
take a total adieu of the world, not caring for a monu-
ment, history, or epitaph; not so much as the bare
memory of my name to be found anywhere, but in the
universal register of God. I am not yet so cynical, as
to approve the testament of Diogenes,* nor do I alto-
gether allow that rodomontado of Lucan;+

-----"Coelo tegitur, qui non habet urnam."
He that unburied lies wants not his hearse;
For unto him a tomb's the universe.

but commend, in my calmer judgment, those ingenuous
intentions that desire to sleep by the urns of their
fathers, and strive to go the neatest way unto corruption.
I do not envy the temper<55> of crows and daws, nor the
numerous and weary days of our fathers before the
flood. If there be any truth in astrology, I may outlive

* Who willed his friend not to bury him, but to hang him
up with a staff in his hand, to fright away the crows.
+ "Pharsalia," vii. 819.

a jubilee;<56> as yet I have not seen one revolution of
Saturn,<57> nor hath my pulse beat thirty years, and yet,
excepting one,<58> have seen the ashes of, and left under
ground, all the kings of Europe; have been contem-
porary to three emperors, four grand signiors, and as
many popes: methinks I have outlived myself, and
begin to be weary of the sun; I have shaken hands with
delight in my warm blood and canicular days; I
perceive I do anticipate the vices of age; the world to
me is but a dream or mock-show, and we all therein but
pantaloons and anticks, to my severer contemplations.

Sect. 42.--It is not, I confess, an unlawful prayer to
desire to surpass the days of our Saviour, or wish to
outlive that age wherein he thought fittest to die; yet, if
(as divinity affirms) there shall be no grey hairs in heaven,
but all shall rise in the perfect state of men, we do
but outlive those perfections in this world, to be recalled
unto them by a greater miracle in the next, and run on
here but to be retrograde hereafter. Were there any
hopes to outlive vice, or a point to be superannuated
from sin, it were worthy our knees to implore the days
of Methuselah. But age doth not rectify, but incurvate
our natures, turning bad dispositions into worser habits,
and (like diseases) brings on incurable vices; for every
day, as we grow weaker in age, we grow stronger in sin,
and the number of our days doth but make our sins
innumerable. The same vice, committed at sixteen, is
not the same, though it agrees in all other circum-
stances, as at forty; but swells and doubles from the
circumstance of our ages, wherein, besides the constant
and inexcusable habit of transgressing, the maturity of
our judgment cuts off pretence unto excuse or pardon.
Every sin, the oftener it is committed, the more it
acquireth in the quality of evil; as it succeeds in time,
so it proceeds in degrees of badness; for as they proceed
they ever multiply, and, like figures in arithmetick, the
last stands for more than all that went before it. And,
though I think no man can live well once, but he that
could live twice, yet, for my own part, I would not live
over my hours past, or begin again the thread of my
days; not upon Cicero's ground,* because I have lived
them well, but for fear I should live them worse. I
find my growing judgment daily instruct me how to
be better, but my untamed affections and confirmed
vitiosity make me daily do worse. I find in my con-
firmed age the same sins I discovered in my youth; I
committed many then because I was a child; and,
because I commit them still, I am yet an infant.
Therefore I perceive a man may be twice a child,
before the days of dotage; and stand in need of AEson's
bath<59> before threescore.

Sect. 43.--And truly there goes a deal of providence
to produce a man's life unto threescore; there is more
required than an able temper for those years: though
the radical humour contain in it sufficient oil for seventy,
yet I perceive in some it gives no light past thirty: men
assign not all the causes of long life, that write whole
books thereof. They that found themselves on the
radical balsam, or vital sulphur of the parts, determine
not why Abel lived not so long as Adam. There is
therefore a secret gloom or bottom of our days: 'twas
his wisdom to determine them: but his perpetual and
waking providence that fulfils and accomplisheth them;
wherein the spirits, ourselves, and all the creatures of
God, in a secret and disputed way, do execute his will.
Let them not therefore complain of immaturity that die
about thirty: they fall but like the whole world, whose

* Ep. lib. xxiv. ep. 24.

solid and well-composed substance must not expect the
duration and period of its constitution: when all things
are completed in it, its age is accomplished; and the
last and general fever may as naturally destroy it before
six thousand,<60> as me before forty. There is therefore
some other hand that twines the thread of life than that
of nature: we are not only ignorant in antipathies and
occult qualities; our ends are as obscure as our begin-
nings; the line of our days is drawn by night, and the
various effects therein by a pencil that is invisible;
wherein, though we confess our ignorance, I am sure
we do not err if we say, it is the hand of God.

Sect. 44.--I am much taken with two verses of Lucan,
since I have been able not only, as we do at school, to
construe, but understand:

"Victurosque Dei celant ut vivere, durent,
Felix esse mori."
We're all deluded, vainly searching ways
To make us happy by the length of days;
For cunningly, to make's protract this breath,
The gods conceal the happiness of death.

There be many excellent strains in that poet, where-
with his stoical genius hath liberally supplied him:
and truly there are singular pieces in the philosophy
of Zeno,<61> and doctrine of the stoics, which I perceive,
delivered in a pulpit, pass for current divinity: yet
herein are they in extremes, that can allow a man to be
his own assassin, and so highly extol the end and suicide
of Cato. This is indeed not to fear death, but yet to be
afraid of life. It is a brave act of valour to contemn
death; but, where life is more terrible than death, it
is then the truest valour to dare to live: and herein
religion hath taught us a noble example; for all the

* Pharsalia, iv. 519.

valiant acts of Curtius, Scaevola, or Codrus, do not
parallel, or match, that one of Job; and sure there is
no torture to the rack of a disease, nor any poniards in
death itself, like those in the way or prologue unto it.
"Emori nolo, sed me esse mortuum nihil curo;" I would
not die, but care not to be dead. Were I of Caesar's
religion,<62> I should be of his desires, and wish rather to
go off at one blow, than to be sawed in pieces by the
grating torture of a disease. Men that look no further
than their outsides, think health an appurtenance unto
life, and quarrel with their constitutions for being sick;
but I, that have examined the parts of man, and know
upon what tender filaments that fabrick hangs, do
wonder that we are not always so; and, considering the
thousand doors that lead to death, do thank my God
that we can die but once. 'Tis not only the mischief
of diseases, and the villany of poisons, that make an
end of us; we vainly accuse the fury of guns, and the
new inventions of death:--it is in the power of every
hand to destroy us, and we are beholden unto every
one we meet, he doth not kill us. There is therefore
but one comfort left, that though it be in the power of
the weakest arm to take away life, it is not in the
strongest to deprive us of death. God would not ex-
empt himself from that; the misery of immortality
in the flesh he undertook not, that was immortal.
Certainly there is no happiness within this circle of
flesh; nor is it in the opticks of these eyes to behold
felicity. The first day of our jubilee is death; the
devil hath therefore failed of his desires; we are hap-
pier with death than we should have been without it:
there is no misery but in himself, where there is no
end of misery; and so indeed, in his own sense, the
stoic is in the right.<63> He forgets that he can die, who
complains of misery: we are in the power of no calamity
while death is in our own.

Sect. 45.--Now, besides this literal and positive kind
of death, there are others whereof divines make men-
tion, and those, I think, not merely metaphorical, as
mortification, dying unto sin and the world. There-
fore, I say, every man hath a double horoscope; one of
his humanity,--his birth, another of his Christianity,--
his baptism: and from this do I compute or calculate
my nativity; not reckoning those horae combustae,<64> and
odd days, or esteeming myself anything, before I was
my Saviour's and enrolled in the register of Christ.
Whosoever enjoys not this life, I count him but an
apparition, though he wear about him the sensible
affections of flesh. In these moral acceptions, the way
to be immortal is to die daily; nor can I think I have
the true theory of death, when I contemplate a skull or
behold a skeleton with those vulgar imaginations it
casts upon us. I have therefore enlarged that common
memento mori into a more Christian memorandum,
memento quatuor novissima,--those four inevitable
points of us all, death, judgment, heaven, and hell.
Neither did the contemplations of the heathens rest in
their graves, without a further thought, of Rhada-
manth<65> or some judicial proceeding after death, though
in another way, and upon suggestion of their natural
reasons. I cannot but marvel from what sibyl or oracle
they stole the prophecy of the world's destruction by
fire, or whence Lucan learned to say--

"Communis mundo superest rogus, ossibus astra

There yet remains to th' world one common fire,
Wherein our bones with stars shall make one pyre.

* Pharsalia, vii. 814.

I believe the world grows near its end; yet is neither
old nor decayed, nor will ever perish upon the ruins of
its own principles. As the work of creation was above
nature, so its adversary, annihilation; without which
the world hath not its end, but its mutation. Now,
what force should be able to consume it thus far, with-
out the breath of God, which is the truest consuming
flame, my philosophy cannot inform me. Some believe
there went not a minute to the world's creation, nor
shall there go to its destruction; those six days, so
punctually described, make not to them one moment,
but rather seem to manifest the method and idea of
that great work of the intellect of God than the manner
how he proceeded in its operation. I cannot dream that
there should be at the last day any such judicial pro-
ceeding, or calling to the bar, as indeed the Scripture
seems to imply, and the literal commentators do con-
ceive: for unspeakable mysteries in the Scriptures are
often delivered in a vulgar and illustrative way, and,
being written unto man, are delivered, not as they truly
are, but as they may be understood; wherein, notwith-
standing, the different interpretations according to dif-
ferent capacities may stand firm with our devotion, nor
be any way prejudicial to each single edification.

Sect. 46.--Now, to determine the day and year of this
inevitable time, is not only convincible and statute
madness, but also manifest impiety. How shall we
interpret Elias's six thousand years, or imagine the
secret communicated to a Rabbi which God hath de-
nied unto his angels? It had been an excellent quaere
to have posed the devil of Delphos, and must needs
have forced him to some strange amphibology. It hath
not only mocked the predictions of sundry astrologers
in ages past, but the prophecies of many melancholy
heads in these present; who, neither understanding
reasonably things past nor present, pretend a know-
ledge of things to come; heads ordained only to mani-
fest the incredible effects of melancholy and to fulfil old
prophecies,* rather than be the authors of new. "In
those days there shall come wars and rumours of wars"
to me seems no prophecy, but a constant truth in all
times verified since it was pronounced. "There shall
be signs in the moon and stars;" how comes he then
like a thief in the night, when he gives an item of his
coming? That common sign, drawn from the revela-
tion of antichrist, is as obscure as any; in our common
compute he hath been come these many years; but,
for my own part, to speak freely, I am half of opinion
that antichrist is the philosopher's stone in divinity, for
the discovery and invention whereof, though there be
prescribed rules, and probable inductions, yet hath
hardly any man attained the perfect discovery thereof.
That general opinion, that the world grows near its
end, hath possessed all ages past as nearly as ours. I
am afraid that the souls that now depart cannot escape
that lingering expostulation of the saints under the
altar, "quousque, Domine?" how long, O Lord? and groan
in the expectation of the great jubilee.

Sect. 47.--This is the day that must make good that
great attribute of God, his justice; that must reconcile
those unanswerable doubts that torment the wisest
understandings; and reduce those seeming inequalities
and respective distributions in this world, to an equality
and recompensive justice in the next. This is that one
day, that shall include and comprehend all that went
before it; wherein, as in the last scene, all the actors
must enter, to complete and make up the catastrophe of

* "In those days there shall come liars and false prophets."

this great piece. This is the day whose memory hath,
only, power to make us honest in the dark, and to be
virtuous without a witness. "Ipsa sui pretium virtus sibi,"
that virtue is her own reward, is but a cold principle,
and not able to maintain our variable resolutions in a
constant and settled way of goodness. I have practised
that honest artifice of Seneca,<66> and, in my retired and
solitary imaginations to detain me from the foulness of
vice, have fancied to myself the presence of my dear and
worthiest friends, before whom I should lose my head
rather than be vicious; yet herein I found that there
was nought but moral honesty; and this was not to be
virtuous for his sake who must reward us at the last. I
have tried if I could reach that great resolution of his,
to be honest without a thought of heaven or hell; and,
indeed I found, upon a natural inclination, and inbred
loyalty unto virtue, that I could serve her without a
livery, yet not in that resolved and venerable way, but
that the frailty of my nature, upon an easy temptation,
might be induced to forget her. The life, therefore, and
spirit of all our actions is the resurrection, and a stable
apprehension that our ashes shall enjoy the fruit of our
pious endeavours; without this, all religion is a fallacy,
and those impieties of Lucian, Euripides, and Julian, are
no blasphemies, but subtile verities; and atheists have
been the only philosophers.

Sect. 48.--How shall the dead arise, is no question of
my faith; to believe only possibilities is not faith, but
mere philosophy. Many things are true in divinity,
which are neither inducible by reason nor confirmable
by sense; and many things in philosophy confirmable
by sense, yet not inducible by reason. Thus it is im-
possible, by any solid or demonstrative reasons, to per-
suade a man to believe the conversion of the needle to
the north; though this be possible and true, and easily
credible, upon a single experiment unto the sense. I
believe that our estranged and divided ashes shall unite
again; that our separated dust, after so many pilgrim-
ages and transformations into the parts of minerals,
plants, animals, elements, shall, at the voice of God,
return into their primitive shapes, and join again to
make up their primary and predestinate forms. As at
the creation there was a separation of that confused
mass into its pieces; so at the destruction thereof there
shall be a separation into its distinct individuals. As,
at the creation of the world, all the distinct species that
we behold lay involved in one mass, till the fruitful
voice of God separated this united multitude into its
several species, so, at the last day, when those corrupted
relicks shall be scattered in the wilderness of forms, and
seem to have forgot their proper habits, God, by a power-
ful voice, shall command them back into their proper
shapes, and call them out by their single individuals.
Then shall appear the fertility of Adam, and the magick
of that sperm that hath dilated into so many millions.
I have often beheld, as a miracle, that artificial resur-
rection and revivification of mercury, how being morti-
fied into a thousand shapes, it assumes again its own,
and returns into its numerical self. Let us speak
naturally, and like philosophers. The forms of alter-
able bodies in these sensible corruptions perish not;
nor, as we imagine, wholly quit their mansions; but
retire and contract themselves into their secret and
unaccessible parts; where they may best protect them-
selves from the action of their antagonist. A plant or
vegetable consumed to ashes to a contemplative and
school-philosopher seems utterly destroyed, and the
form to have taken his leave for ever; but to a sensible
artist the forms are not perished, but withdrawn into
their incombustible part, where they lie secure from the
action of that devouring element. This is made good
by experience, which can from the ashes of a plant
revive the plant, and from its cinders recall it into its
stalk and leaves again.<67> What the art of man can do
in these inferior pieces, what blasphemy is it to affirm
the finger of God cannot do in those more perfect and
sensible structures? This is that mystical philosophy,
from whence no true scholar becomes an atheist, but
from the visible effects of nature grows up a real
divine, and beholds not in a dream, as Ezekiel, but
in an ocular and visible object, the types of his resur-

Sect. 49.--Now, the necessary mansions of our restored
selves are those two contrary and incompatible places
we call heaven and hell. To define them, or strictly to
determine what and where these are, surpasseth my
divinity. That elegant apostle, which seemed to have
a glimpse of heaven, hath left but a negative descrip-
tion thereof; which "neither eye hath seen, nor ear hath
heard, nor can enter into the heart of man:" he was
translated out of himself to behold it; but, being re-
turned into himself, could not express it. Saint John's
description by emeralds, chrysolites, and precious stones,
is too weak to express the material heaven we behold.
Briefly, therefore, where the soul hath the full measure
and complement of happiness; where the boundless
appetite of that spirit remains completely satisfied that
it can neither desire addition nor alteration; that, I
think, is truly heaven: and this can only be in the
enjoyment of that essence, whose infinite goodness is
able to terminate the desires of itself, and the unsatiable
wishes of ours. Wherever God will thus manifest him-
self, there is heaven, though within the circle of this
sensible world. Thus, the soul of man may be in
heaven anywhere, even within the limits of his own
proper body; and when it ceaseth to live in the body it
may remain in its own soul, that is, its Creator. And
thus we may say that Saint Paul, whether in the body
or out of the body, was yet in heaven. To place it in
the empyreal, or beyond the tenth sphere, is to forget
the world's destruction; for when this sensible world
shall be destroyed, all shall then be here as it is now
there, an empyreal heaven, a quasi vacuity; when to
ask where heaven is, is to demand where the presence of
God is, or where we have the glory of that happy
vision. Moses, that was bred up in all the learning of
the Egyptians, committed a gross absurdity in philo-
sophy, when with these eyes of flesh he desired to see God,
and petitioned his Maker, that is truth itself, to a contra-
diction. Those that imagine heaven and hell neighbours,
and conceive a vicinity between those two extremes,
upon consequence of the parable, where Dives discoursed
with Lazarus, in Abraham's bosom, do too grossly con-
ceive of those glorified creatures, whose eyes shall easily
out-see the sun, and behold without perspective the
extremest distances: for if there shall be, in our glori-
fied eyes, the faculty of sight and reception of objects,
I could think the visible species there to be in as un-
limitable a way as now the intellectual. I grant that
two bodies placed beyond the tenth sphere, or in a
vacuity, according to Aristotle's philosophy, could not
behold each other, because there wants a body or
medium to hand and transport the visible rays of the
object unto the sense; but when there shall be a general
defect of either medium to convey, or light to prepare
and dispose that medium, and yet a perfect vision, we
must suspend the rules of our philosophy, and make all
good by a more absolute piece of opticks.

Sect. 50.--I cannot tell how to say that fire is the
essence of hell; I know not what to make of purgatory,
or conceive a flame that can either prey upon, or purify
the substance of a soul. Those flames of sulphur, men-
tioned in the scriptures, I take not to be understood of
this present hell, but of that to come, where fire shall
make up the complement of our tortures, and have a
body or subject whereon to manifest its tyranny. Some
who have had the honour to be textuary in divinity are
of opinion it shall be the same specifical fire with ours.
This is hard to conceive, yet can I make good how even
that may prey upon our bodies, and yet not consume
us: for in this material world, there are bodies that
persist invincible in the powerfulest flames; and though,
by the action of fire, they fall into ignition and liquation,
yet will they never suffer a destruction. I would gladly
know how Moses, with an actual fire, calcined or burnt
the golden calf into powder: for that mystical metal of
gold, whose solary and celestial nature I admire, ex-
posed unto the violence of fire, grows only hot, and
liquefies, but consumeth not; so when the consumable
and volatile pieces of our bodies shall be refined into a
more impregnable and fixed temper, like gold, though
they suffer from the action of flames, they shall never
perish, but lie immortal in the arms of fire. And
surely, if this flame must suffer only by the action of
this element, there will many bodies escape; and not
only heaven, but earth will not be at an end, but
rather a beginning. For at present it is not earth, but
a composition of fire, water, earth, and air; but at that
time, spoiled of these ingredients, it shall appear in a
substance more like itself, its ashes. Philosophers that
opinioned the world's destruction by fire, did never
dream of annihilation, which is beyond the power of
sublunary causes; for the last and proper action of that
element is but vitrification, or a reduction of a body into
glass; and therefore some of our chymicks facetiously
affirm, that, at the last fire, all shall be crystalized and
reverberated into glass, which is the utmost action of
that element. Nor need we fear this term, annihilation,
or wonder that God will destroy the works of his crea-
tion: for man subsisting, who is, and will then truly
appear, a microcosm, the world cannot be said to be
destroyed. For the eyes of God, and perhaps also of
our glorified selves, shall as really behold and contem-
plate the world, in its epitome or contracted essence, as
now it doth at large and in its dilated substance. In
the seed of a plant, to the eyes of God, and to the under-
standing of man, there exists, though in an invisible
way, the perfect leaves, flowers, and fruit thereof; for
things that are in posse to the sense, are actually existent
to the understanding. Thus God beholds all things,
who contemplates as fully his works in their epitome
as in their full volume, and beheld as amply the whole
world, in that little compendium of the sixth day, as
in the scattered and dilated pieces of those five before.

Sect. 51.--Men commonly set forth the torments of hell
by fire, and the extremity of corporal afflictions, and
describe hell in the same method that Mahomet doth
heaven. This indeed makes a noise, and drums in
popular ears: but if this be the terrible piece thereof, it
is not worthy to stand in diameter with heaven, whose
happiness consists in that part that is best able to com-
prehend it, that immortal essence, that translated divinity
and colony of God, the soul. Surely, though we place
hell under earth, the devil's walk and purlieu is about
it. Men speak too popularly who place it in those
flaming mountains, which to grosser apprehensions re-
present hell. The heart of man is the place the devils
dwell in; I feel sometimes a hell within myself;
Lucifer keeps his court in my breast; Legion is revived
in me. There are as many hells as Anaxagoras<68>
conceited worlds. There was more than one hell
in Magdalene, when there were seven devils; for every
devil is an hell unto himself,<69> he holds enough of
torture in his own ubi; and needs not the misery of cir-
cumference to afflict him: and thus, a distracted con-
science here is a shadow or introduction unto hell here-
after. Who can but pity the merciful intention of those
hands that do destroy themselves? The devil, were it
in his power, would do the like; which being im-
possible, his miseries are endless, and he suffers most
in that attribute wherein he is impassible, his im-

Sect. 52.--I thank God, and with joy I mention it, I
was never afraid of hell, nor ever grew pale at the
description of that place. I have so fixed my contempla-
tions on heaven, that I have almost forgot the idea of
hell; and am afraid rather to lose the joys of the one,
than endure the misery of the other: to be deprived of
them is a perfect hell, and needs methinks no addition
to complete our afflictions. That terrible term hath
never detained me from sin, nor do I owe any good
action to the name thereof. I fear God, yet am not
afraid of him; his mercies make me ashamed of my
sins, before his judgments afraid thereof: these are the
forced and secondary method of his wisdom, which he
useth but as the last remedy, and upon provocation;--
a course rather to deter the wicked, than incite the
virtuous to his worship. I can hardly think there was
ever any scared into heaven: they go the fairest way to
heaven that would serve God without a hell: other
mercenaries, that crouch unto him in fear of hell, though
they term themselves the servants, are indeed but the
slaves, of the Almighty.

Sect. 53.--And to be true, and speak my soul, when I
survey the occurrences of my life, and call into account
the finger of God, I can perceive nothing but an abyss
and mass of mercies, either in general to mankind, or in
particular to myself. And, whether out of the prejudice
of my affection, or an inverting and partial conceit of
his mercies, I know not,--but those which others term
crosses, afflictions, judgments, misfortunes, to me, who
inquire further into them than their visible effects, they
both appear, and in event have ever proved, the secret
and dissembled favours of his affection. It is a singular
piece of wisdom to apprehend truly, and without passion,
the works of God, and so well to distinguish his justice
from his mercy as not to miscall those noble attributes;
yet it is likewise an honest piece of logick so to dispute
and argue the proceedings of God as to distinguish even
his judgments into mercies. For God is merciful unto
all, because better to the worst than the best deserve;
and to say he punisheth none in this world, though it
be a paradox, is no absurdity. To one that hath com-
mitted murder, if the judge should only ordain a fine,
it were a madness to call this a punishment, and to re-
pine at the sentence, rather than admire the clemency
of the judge. Thus, our offences being mortal, and
deserving not only death but damnation, if the goodness
of God be content to traverse and pass them over with
a loss, misfortune, or disease; what frenzy were it to
term this a punishment, rather than an extremity of
mercy, and to groan under the rod of his judgments
rather than admire the sceptre of his mercies! There-
fore to adore, honour, and admire him, is a debt of
gratitude due from the obligation of our nature, states,
and conditions: and with these thoughts he that knows
them best will not deny that I adore him. That I
obtain heaven, and the bliss thereof, is accidental, and
not the intended work of my devotion; it being a
felicity I can neither think to deserve nor scarce in
modesty to expect. For these two ends of us all, either
as rewards or punishments, are mercifully ordained and
disproportionably disposed unto our actions; the one
being so far beyond our deserts, the other so infinitely
below our demerits.

Sect. 54.--There is no salvation to those that believe
not in Christ; that is, say some, since his nativity, and,
as divinity affirmeth, before also; which makes me
much apprehend the end of those honest worthies and
philosophers which died before his incarnation. It is
hard to place those souls in hell, whose worthy lives do
teach us virtue on earth. Methinks, among those many
subdivisions of hell, there might have been one limbo
left for these. What a strange vision will it be to see
their poetical fictions converted into verities, and their
imagined and fancied furies into real devils! How
strange to them will sound the history of Adam, when
they shall suffer for him they never heard of! When
they who derive their genealogy from the gods, shall
know they are the unhappy issue of sinful man! It is
an insolent part of reason, to controvert the works of
God, or question the justice of his proceedings. Could
humility teach others, as it hath instructed me, to con-
template the infinite and incomprehensible distance be-
twixt the Creator and the creature; or did we seriously
perpend that one simile of St Paul, "shall the vessel say
to the potter, why hast thou made me thus?" it would
prevent these arrogant disputes of reason: nor would
we argue the definitive sentence of God, either to heaven
or hell. Men that live according to the right rule and
law of reason, live but in their own kind, as beasts do
in theirs; who justly obey the prescript of their natures,
and therefore cannot reasonably demand a reward of
their actions, as only obeying the natural dictates of
their reason. It will, therefore, and must, at last
appear, that all salvation is through Christ; which
verity, I fear, these great examples of virtue must con-
firm, and make it good how the perfectest actions of
earth have no title or claim unto heaven.

Sect. 55.--Nor truly do I think the lives of these, or
of any other, were ever correspondent, or in all points
conformable, unto their doctrines. It is evident that
Aristotle transgressed the rule of his own ethicks;<70>
the stoicks, that condemn passion, and command a man
to laugh in Phalaris's<71> bull, could not endure without a
groan a fit of the stone or colick. The scepticks, that
affirmed they knew nothing,<72> even in that opinion con-
fute themselves, and thought they knew more than all
the world beside. Diogenes I hold to be the most vain-
glorious man of his time, and more ambitious in refus-
ing all honours, than Alexander in rejecting none. Vice
and the devil put a fallacy upon our reasons; and,
provoking us too hastily to run from it, entangle and
profound us deeper in it. The duke of Venice, that
weds himself unto the sea, by a ring of gold,<73> I will
not accuse of prodigality, because it is a solemnity of
good use and consequence in the state: but the philoso-
pher, that threw his money into the sea to avoid avarice,
was a notorious prodigal.<74> There is no road or ready
way to virtue; it is not an easy point of art to dis-
entangle ourselves from this riddle or web of sin. To
perfect virtue, as to religion, there is required a panoplia,
or complete armour; that whilst we lie at close ward
against one vice, we lie not open to the veney<75> of
another. And indeed wiser discretions, that have the
thread of reason to conduct them, offend without a
pardon; whereas under heads may stumble without
dishonour. There go so many circumstances to piece
up one good action, that it is a lesson to be good, and
we are forced to be virtuous by the book. Again, the
practice of men holds not an equal pace, yea and often
runs counter to their theory; we naturally know what
is good, but naturally pursue what is evil: the rhetorick
wherewith I persuade another cannot persuade myself.
There is a depraved appetite in us, that will with
patience hear the learned instructions of reason, but
yet perform no further than agrees to its own irregular
humour. In brief, we all are monsters; that is, a com-
position of man and beast: wherein we must endeavour
to be as the poets fancy that wise man, Chiron; that is,
to have the region of man above that of beast, and sense
to sit but at the feet of reason. Lastly, I do desire with
God that all, but yet affirm with men that few, shall
know salvation,--that the bridge is narrow, the passage
strait unto life: yet those who do confine the church
of God either to particular nations, churches, or
families, have made it far narrower than our Saviour
ever meant it.

Sect. 56.--The vulgarity of those judgments that wrap
the church of God in Strabo's cloak,<76> and restrain it
unto Europe, seem to me as bad geographers as Alex-
ander, who thought he had conquered all the world,
when he had not subdued the half of any part thereof.
For we cannot deny the church of God both in Asia
and Africa, if we do not forget the peregrinations of
the apostles, the deaths of the martyrs, the sessions of
many and (even in our reformed judgment) lawful
councils, held in those parts in the minority and
nonage of ours. Nor must a few differences, more re-
markable in the eyes of man than, perhaps, in the
judgment of God, excommunicate from heaven one an-
other; much less those Christians who are in a manner
all martyrs, maintaining their faith in the noble way
of persecution, and serving God in the fire, whereas
we honour him in the sunshine.

'Tis true, we all hold there is a number of elect, and
many to be saved; yet, take our opinions together, and
from the confusion thereof, there will be no such thing
as salvation, nor shall any one be saved: for, first, the
church of Rome condemneth us; we likewise them;
the sub-reformists and sectaries sentence the doctrine of
our church as damnable; the atomist, or familist,<77> re-
probates all these; and all these, them again. Thus,
whilst the mercies of God do promise us heaven, our
conceits and opinions exclude us from that place. There
must be therefore more than one St Peter; particular
churches and sects usurp the gates of heaven, and turn
the key against each other; and thus we go to heaven
against each other's wills, conceits, and opinions, and,
with as much uncharity as ignorance, do err, I fear, in
points not only of our own, but one another's salvation.

Sect. 57.--I believe many are saved who to man
seem reprobated, and many are reprobated who in the
opinion and sentence of man stand elected. There will
appear, at the last day, strange and unexpected examples,
both of his justice and his mercy; and, therefore, to
define either is folly in man, and insolency even in the
devils. These acute and subtile spirits, in all their
sagacity, can hardly divine who shall be saved; which
if they could prognostick, their labour were at an end,
nor need they compass the earth, seeking whom they
may devour. Those who, upon a rigid application of
the law, sentence Solomon unto damnation,<78> condemn
not only him, but themselves, and the whole world;
for by the letter and written word of God, we are with-
out exception in the state of death: but there is a pre-
rogative of God, and an arbitrary pleasure above the
letter of his own law, by which alone we can pretend
unto salvation, and through which Solomon might be as
easily saved as those who condemn him.

Sect. 58.--The number of those who pretend unto
salvation, and those infinite swarms who think to pass
through the eye of this needle, have much amazed me.
That name and compellation of "little flock" doth not
comfort, but deject, my devotion; especially when I
reflect upon mine own unworthiness, wherein, accord-
ing to my humble apprehensions, I am below them all.
I believe there shall never be an anarchy in heaven;
but, as there are hierarchies amongst the angels, so shall
there be degrees of priority amongst the saints. Yet is
it, I protest, beyond my ambition to aspire unto the
first ranks; my desires only are, and I shall be happy
therein, to be but the last man, and bring up the rear
in heaven.

Sect. 59.--Again, I am confident, and fully persuaded,
yet dare not take my oath, of my salvation. I am, as it
were, sure, and do believe without all doubt, that there
is such a city as Constantinople; yet, for me to take
my oath thereon were a kind of perjury, because I hold
no infallible warrant from my own sense to confirm
me in the certainty thereof. And truly, though many
pretend to an absolute certainty of their salvation, yet
when an humble soul shall contemplate our own un-
worthiness, she shall meet with many doubts, and sud-
denly find how little we stand in need of the precept of
St Paul, "work out your salvation with fear and trem-
." That which is the cause of my election, I hold to
be the cause of my salvation, which was the mercy and
beneplacit of God, before I was, or the foundation of the
world. "Before Abraham was, I am," is the saying of
Christ, yet is it true in some sense if I say it of myself;
for I was not only before myself but Adam, that is, in
the idea of God, and the decree of that synod held from
all eternity. And in this sense, I say, the world was
before the creation, and at an end before it had a
beginning. And thus was I dead before I was alive;
though my grave be England, my dying place was
Paradise; and Eve miscarried of me, before she con-
ceived of Cain.

Sect. 60.--Insolent zeals, that do decry good works
and rely only upon faith, take not away merit: for,
depending upon the efficacy of their faith, they enforce
the condition of God, and in a more sophistical way do
seem to challenge heaven. It was decreed by God that
only those that lapped in the water like dogs, should
have the honour to destroy the Midianites; yet could
none of those justly challenge, or imagine he deserved,
that honour thereupon. I do not deny but that true
faith, and such as God requires, is not only a mark or
token, but also a means, of our salvation; but, where
to find this, is as obscure to me as my last end. And
if our Saviour could object, unto his own disciples and
favourites, a faith that, to the quantity of a grain of
mustard seed, is able to remove mountains; surely that
which we boast of is not anything, or, at the most, but
a remove from nothing.

This is the tenour of my belief; wherein, though
there be many things singular, and to the humour of
my irregular self, yet, if they square not with maturer
judgments, I disclaim them, and do no further favour them
than the learned and best judgments shall authorize them.


Sect. 1.--Now, for that other virtue of charity, without
which faith is a mere notion and of no existence, I have
ever endeavoured to nourish the merciful disposition
and humane inclination I borrowed from my parents,
and regulate it to the written and prescribed laws of
charity. And, if I hold the true anatomy of myself, I
am delineated and naturally framed to such a piece of
virtue,--for I am of a constitution so general that it
consorts and sympathizeth with all things; I have no
antipathy, or rather idiosyncrasy, in diet, humour, air,
anything. I wonder not at the French for their dishes
of frogs, snails, and toadstools, nor at the Jews for locusts
and grasshoppers; but, being amongst them, make
them my common viands; and I find they agree with
my stomach as well as theirs. I could digest a salad
gathered in a church-yard as well as in a garden. I
cannot start at the presence of a serpent, scorpion, lizard,
or salamander; at the sight of a toad or viper, I find in
me no desire to take up a stone to destroy them. I feel
not in myself those common antipathies that I can dis-
cover in others: those national repugnances do not
touch me, nor do I behold with prejudice the French,
Italian, Spaniard, or Dutch; but, where I find their
actions in balance with my countrymen's, I honour, love,
and embrace them, in the same degree. I was born in
the eighth climate, but seem to be framed and constel-
lated unto all. I am no plant that will not prosper out
of a garden. All places, all airs, make unto me one
country; I am in England everywhere, and under any
meridian. I have been shipwrecked, yet am not enemy
with the sea or winds; I can study, play, or sleep, in a
tempest. In brief I am averse from nothing: my con-
science would give me the lie if I should say I abso-
lutely detest or hate any essence, but the devil; or so
at least abhor anything, but that we might come to
composition. If there be any among those common
objects of hatred I do contemn and laugh at, it is that
great enemy of reason, virtue, and religion, the mul-
titude; that numerous piece of monstrosity, which,
taken asunder, seem men, and the reasonable creatures
of God, but, confused together, make but one great
beast, and a monstrosity more prodigious than Hydra.
It is no breach of charity to call these fools; it is the
style all holy writers have afforded them, set down by
Solomon in canonical Scripture, and a point of our faith
to believe so. Neither in the name of multitude do I
only include the base and minor sort of people: there
is a rabble even amongst the gentry; a sort of plebeian
heads, whose fancy moves with the same wheel as these;
men in the same level with mechanicks, though their
fortunes do somewhat gild their infirmities, and their
purses compound for their follies. But, as in casting
account three or four men together come short in account
of one man placed by himself below them, so neither
are a troop of these ignorant Doradoes<79> of that true
esteem and value as many a forlorn person, whose con-
dition doth place him below their feet. Let us speak
like politicians; there is a nobility without heraldry, a
natural dignity, whereby one man is ranked with
another, another filed before him, according to the
quality of his desert, and pre-eminence of his good parts.
Though the corruption of these times, and the bias of
present practice, wheel another way, thus it was in the
first and primitive commonwealths, and is yet in the in-
tegrity and cradle of well ordered polities: till corrup-
tion getteth ground;--ruder desires labouring after that
which wiser considerations contemn;--every one having
a liberty to amass and heap up riches, and they a licence
or faculty to do or purchase anything.

Sect. 2.--This general and indifferent temper of mine
doth more nearly dispose me to this noble virtue. It is
a happiness to be born and framed unto virtue, and to
grow up from the seeds of nature, rather than the
inoculations and forced grafts of education: yet, if we
are directed only by our particular natures, and regulate
our inclinations by no higher rule than that of our
reasons, we are but moralists; divinity will still call us
heathens. Therefore this great work of charity must
have other motives, ends, and impulsions. I give no
alms to satisfy the hunger of my brother, but to fulfil
and accomplish the will and command of my God; I
draw not my purse for his sake that demands it, but his
that enjoined it; I relieve no man upon the rhetorick
of his miseries, nor to content mine own commiserating
disposition; for this is still but moral charity, and an
act that oweth more to passion than reason. He that
relieves another upon the bare suggestion and bowels of
pity doth not this so much for his sake as for his own;
and so, by relieving them, we relieve ourselves also.
It is as erroneous a conceit to redress other men's
misfortunes upon the common considerations of merciful
natures, that it may be one day our own case; for this
is a sinister and politick kind of charity, whereby we
seem to bespeak the pities of men in the like occasions.
And truly I have observed that those professed eleemo-
synaries, though in a crowd or multitude, do yet direct
and place their petitions on a few and selected persons;
there is surely a physiognomy, which those experienced
and master mendicants observe, whereby they instantly
discover a merciful aspect, and will single out a face,
wherein they spy the signature and marks of mercy.
For there are mystically in our faces certain characters
which carry in them the motto of our souls, wherein he
that can read A, B, C, may read our natures. I hold,
moreover, that there is a phytognomy, or physiognomy,
not only of men, but of plants and vegetables; and is
every one of them some outward figures which hang as
signs or bushes of their inward forms. The finger of
God hath left an inscription upon all his works, not
graphical, or composed of letters, but of their several
forms, constitutions, parts, and operations, which, aptly
joined together, do make one word that doth express
their natures. By these letters God calls the stars by
their names; and by this alphabet Adam assigned to
every creature a name peculiar to its nature. Now,
there are, besides these characters in our faces, certain
mystical figures in our hands, which I dare not call
mere dashes, strokes a la volee or at random, because
delineated by a pencil that never works in vain; and
hereof I take more particular notice, because I carry
that in mine own hand which I could never read of nor
discover in another. Aristotle, I confess, in his acute
and singular book of physiognomy, hath made no
mention of chiromancy:<80> yet I believe the Egyptians,
who were nearer addicted to those abstruse and mysti-
cal sciences, had a knowledge therein: to which those
vagabond and counterfeit Egyptians did after<81> pretend,
and perhaps retained a few corrupted principles, which
sometimes might verify their prognosticks.

It is the common wonder of all men, how, among so
many millions of faces, there should be none alike:
now, contrary, I wonder as much how there should be
any. He that shall consider how many thousand
several words have been carelessly and without study
composed out of twenty-four letters; withal, how many
hundred lines there are to be drawn in the fabrick of
one man; shall easily find that this variety is necessary:
and it will be very hard that they shall so concur as to
make one portrait like another. Let a painter carelessly
limn out a million of faces, and you shall find them all
different; yes, let him have his copy before him, yet,
after all his art, there will remain a sensible distinction:
for the pattern or example of everything is the perfectest
in that kind, whereof we still come short, though we
transcend or go beyond it; because herein it is wide,
and agrees not in all points unto its copy. Nor doth
the similitude of creatures disparage the variety of
nature, nor any way confound the works of God. For
even in things alike there is diversity; and those that
do seem to accord do manifestly disagree. And thus is
man like God; for, in the same things that we resemble
him we are utterly different from him. There was
never anything so like another as in all points to
concur; there will ever some reserved difference slip
in, to prevent the identity; without which two several
things would not be alike, but the same, which is

Sect. 3.--But, to return from philosophy to charity, I
hold not so narrow a conceit of this virtue as to con-
ceive that to give alms is only to be charitable, or think
a piece of liberality can comprehend the total of charity.
Divinity hath wisely divided the act thereof into many
branches, and hath taught us, in this narrow way, many
paths unto goodness; as many ways as we may do good,
so many ways we may be charitable. There are in-
firmities not only of body, but of soul and fortunes,
which do require the merciful hand of our abilities. I
cannot contemn a man for ignorance, but behold him
with as much pity as I do Lazarus. It is no greater
charity to clothe his body than apparel the nakedness
of his soul. It is an honourable object to see the
reasons of other men wear our liveries, and their
borrowed understandings do homage to the bounty of
ours. It is the cheapest way of beneficence, and, like
the natural charity of the sun, illuminates another
without obscuring itself. To be reserved and caitiff<82>
in this part of goodness is the sordidest piece of covetous-
ness, and more contemptible than the pecuniary avarice.
To this (as calling myself a scholar) I am obliged by
the duty of my condition. I make not therefore my
head a grave, but a treasure of knowledge. I intend no
monopoly, but a community in learning. I study not
for my own sake only, but for theirs that study not for
themselves. I envy no man that knows more than
myself, but pity them that know less. I instruct no
man as an exercise of my knowledge, or with an intent
rather to nourish and keep it alive in mine own head
than beget and propagate it in his. And, in the midst
of all my endeavours, there is but one thought that
dejects me, that my acquired parts must perish with
myself, nor can be legacied among my honoured friends.
I cannot fall out or contemn a man for an error, or
conceive why a difference in opinion should divide an
affection; for controversies, disputes, and argumenta-
tions, both in philosophy and in divinity, if they meet
with discreet and peaceable natures, do not infringe the
laws of charity. In all disputes, so much as there is of
passion, so much there is of nothing to the purpose; for
then reason, like a bad hound, spends upon a false scent,
and forsakes the question first started. And this is one
reason why controversies are never determined; for,
though they be amply proposed, they are scarce at all
handled; they do so swell with unnecessary digressions;
and the parenthesis on the party is often as large as the
main discourse upon the subject. The foundations of
religion are already established, and the principles of
salvation subscribed unto by all. There remain not
many controversies worthy a passion, and yet never any
dispute without, not only in divinity but inferior arts.
What a [Greek omitted] and hot skirmish is betwixt S.
and T. in Lucian!<83> How do grammarians hack and
slash for the genitive case in Jupiter!<84> How do they
break their own pates, to salve that of Priscian!<85> "Si
foret in terris, rideret Democritus."
Yes, even amongst
wiser militants, how many wounds have been given and
credits slain, for the poor victory of an opinion, or
beggarly conquest of a distinction! Scholars are men
of peace, they bear no arms, but their tongues are
sharper than Actius's razor.<86> their pens carry farther,
and give a louder report than thunder. I had rather
stand the shock of a basilisko<87> than in the fury of
a merciless pen. It is not mere zeal to learning, or
devotion to the muses, that wiser princes patron the
arts, and carry an indulgent aspect unto scholars; but
a desire to have their names eternized by the memory
of their writings, and a fear of the revengeful pen of
succeeding ages: for these are the men that, when they
have played their parts, and had their exits, must step
out and give the moral of their scenes, and deliver unto
posterity an inventory of their virtues and vices. And
surely there goes a great deal of conscience to the
compiling of an history: there is no reproach to the
scandal of a story; it is such an authentick kind of
falsehood, that with authority belies our good names to
all nations and posterity.

Sect. 4.--There is another offence unto charity, which
no author hath ever written of, and few take notice of,
and that's the reproach, not of whole professions, mys-
teries, and conditions, but of whole nations, wherein by
opprobrious epithets we miscall each other, and, by an
uncharitable logick, from a disposition in a few, con-
clude a habit in all.

Le mutin Anglois, et le bravache Escossois
Le bougre Italien, et le fol Francois;
Le poltron Romain, le larron de Gascogne,
L'Espagnol superbe, et l'Alleman yvrogue.

St Paul, that calls the Cretians liars, doth it but in-
directly, and upon quotation of their own poet.<88> It is
as bloody a thought in one way as Nero's was in
another.<89> For by a word we wound a thousand, and
at one blow assassin the honour of a nation. It is as
complete a piece of madness to miscall and rave against
the times; or think to recall men to reason by a fit of
passion. Democritus, that thought to laugh the times
into goodness, seems to me as deeply hypochondriack
as Heraclitus, that bewailed them. It moves not my
spleen to behold the multitude in their proper humours;
that is, in their fits of folly and madness, as well under-
standing that wisdom is not profaned unto the world;
and it is the privilege of a few to be virtuous. They
that endeavour to abolish vice destroy also virtue; for
contraries, though they destroy one another, are yet
the life of one another. Thus virtue (abolish vice) is
an idea. Again, the community of sin doth not dis-
parage goodness; for, when vice gains upon the major
part, virtue, in whom it remains, becomes more excel-
lent, and, being lost in some, multiplies its goodness in
others, which remain untouched, and persist entire in
the general inundation. I can therefore behold vice
without a satire, content only with an admonition, or
instructive reprehension; for noble natures, and such
as are capable of goodness, are railed into vice, that
might as easily be admonished into virtue; and we
should be all so far the orators of goodness as to protect
her from the power of vice, and maintain the cause of
injured truth. No man can justly censure or condemn
another; because, indeed, no man truly knows another.
This I perceive in myself; for I am in the dark to all
the world, and my nearest friends behold me but in a
cloud. Those that know me but superficially think
less of me than I do of myself; those of my near ac-
quaintance think more; God who truly knows me,
knows that I am nothing: for he only beholds me, and
all the world, who looks not on us through a derived
ray, or a trajection of a sensible species, but beholds the
substance without the help of accidents, and the forms
of things, as we their operations. Further, no man can
judge another, because no man knows himself; for we
censure others but as they disagree from that humour
which we fancy laudable in ourselves, and commend
others but for that wherein they seem to quadrate and
consent with us. So that in conclusion, all is but that
we all condemn, self-love. 'Tis the general complaint
of these times, and perhaps of those past, that charity
grows cold; which I perceive most verified in those
which do most manifest the fires and flames of zeal;
for it is a virtue that best agrees with coldest natures,
and such as are complexioned for humility. But how
shall we expect charity towards others, when we are
uncharitable to ourselves? "Charity begins at home,"
is the voice of the world; yet is every man his greatest
enemy, and as it were his own executioner. "Non occides,"
is the commandment of God, yet scarce observed by any
man; for I perceive every man is his own Atropos, and
lends a hand to cut the thread of his own days. Cain
was not therefore the first murderer, but Adam, who
brought in death; whereof he beheld the practice and
example in his own son Abel; and saw that verified in
the experience of another which faith could not per-
suade him in the theory of himself.

Sect. 5.--There is, I think, no man that apprehends
his own miseries less than myself; and no man that so
nearly apprehends another's. I could lose an arm
without a tear, and with few groans, methinks, be
quartered into pieces; yet can I weep most seriously
at a play, and receive with a true passion the counter-
feit griefs of those known and professed impostures. It
is a barbarous part of inhumanity to add unto any
afflicted parties misery, or endeavour to multiply in
any man a passion whose single nature is already above
his patience. This was the greatest affliction of Job,
and those oblique expostulations of his friends a deeper
injury than the down-right blows of the devil. It is
not the tears of our own eyes only, but of our friends
also, that do exhaust the current of our sorrows; which,
falling into many streams, runs more peaceably, and is
contented with a narrower channel. It is an act within
the power of charity, to translate a passion out of one
breast into another, and to divide a sorrow almost out
of itself; for an affliction, like a dimension, may be so
divided as, if not indivisible, at least to become in-
sensible. Now with my friend I desire not to share or
participate, but to engross, his sorrows; that, by mak-
ing them mine own, I may more easily discuss them:
for in mine own reason, and within myself, I can com-
mand that which I cannot entreat without myself, and
within the circle of another. I have often thought
those noble pairs and examples of friendship, not so
truly histories of what had been, as fictions of what
should be; but I now perceive nothing in them but
possibilities, nor anything in the heroick examples of
Damon and Pythias, Achilles and Patroclus, which,
methinks, upon some grounds, I could not perform
within the narrow compass of myself. That a man
should lay down his life for his friend seems strange to
vulgar affections and such as confine themselves within
that worldly principle, "Charity begins at home." For
mine own part, I could never remember the relations
that I held unto myself, nor the respect that I owe unto
my own nature, in the cause of God, my country, and
my friends. Next to these three, I do embrace myself.
I confess I do not observe that order that the schools
ordain our affections,--to love our parents, wives, chil-
dren, and then our friends; for, excepting the injunc-
tions of religion, I do not find in myself such a neces-
sary and indissoluble sympathy to all those of my blood.
I hope I do not break the fifth commandment, if I
conceive I may love my friend before the nearest of my
blood, even those to whom I owe the principles of life.
I never yet cast a true affection on a woman; but I
have loved my friend, as I do virtue, my soul, my God.
From hence, methinks, I do conceive how God loves
man; what happiness there is in the love of God.
Omitting all other, there are three most mystical
unions; two natures in one person; three persons in
one nature; one soul in two bodies. For though, in-
deed, they be really divided, yet are they so united, as
they seem but one, and make rather a duality than two
distinct souls.

Sect. 6.--There are wonders in true affection. It is a
body of enigmas, mysteries, and riddles; wherein two
so become one as they both become two: I love my
friend before myself, and yet, methinks, I do not love
him enough. Some few months hence, my multiplied
affection will make me believe I have not loved him at
all. When I am from him, I am dead till I be with
him. United souls are not satisfied with embraces, but
desire to be truly each other; which being impossible,
these desires are infinite, and must proceed without a
possibility of satisfaction. Another misery there is in
affection; that whom we truly love like our own selves,
we forget their looks, nor can our memory retain the
idea of their faces: and it is no wonder, for they are
ourselves, and our affection makes their looks our own.
This noble affection falls not on vulgar and common
constitutions; but on such as are marked for virtue.
He that can love his friend with this noble ardour will
in a competent degree effect all. Now, if we can bring
our affections to look beyond the body, and cast an eye
upon the soul, we have found out the true object, not
only of friendship, but charity: and the greatest happi-
ness that we can bequeath the soul is that wherein we
all do place our last felicity, salvation; which, though
it be not in our power to bestow, it is in our charity and
pious invocations to desire, if not procure and further.
I cannot contentedly frame a prayer for myself in par-
ticular, without a catalogue for my friends; nor request
a happiness wherein my sociable disposition doth not
desire the fellowship of my neighbour. I never hear
the toll of a passing bell, though in my mirth, with-
out my prayers and best wishes for the departing spirit.
I cannot go to cure the body of my patient, but I forget
my profession, and call unto God for his soul. I can-
not see one say his prayers, but, instead of imitating
him, I fall into supplication for him, who perhaps is no
more to me than a common nature: and if God hath
vouchsafed an ear to my supplications, there are surely
many happy that never saw me, and enjoy the blessing
of mine unknown devotions. To pray for enemies, that
is, for their salvation, is no harsh precept, but the practice
of our daily and ordinary devotions. I cannot believe
the story of the Italian;<90> our bad wishes and uncharit-
able desires proceed no further than this life; it is the
devil, and the uncharitable votes of hell, that desire our
misery in the world to come.

Sect. 7.--"To do no injury nor take none" was a prin-
ciple which, to my former years and impatient affections,
seemed to contain enough of morality, but my more
settled years, and Christian constitution, have fallen
upon severer resolutions. I can hold there is no such
things as injury; that if there be, there is no such injury
as revenge, and no such revenge as the contempt of an
injury: that to hate another is to malign himself; that
the truest way to love another is to despise ourselves.
I were unjust unto mine own conscience if I should say
I am at variance with anything like myself. I find
there are many pieces in this one fabrick of man; this
frame is raised upon a mass of antipathies: I am one
methinks but as the world, wherein notwithstanding
there are a swarm of distinct essences, and in them
another world of contrarieties; we carry private and
domestick enemies within, public and more hostile ad-
versaries without. The devil, that did but buffet St
Paul, plays methinks at sharp<91> with me. Let me be
nothing, if within the compass of myself, I do not find
the battle of Lepanto,<92> passion against reason, reason
against faith, faith against the devil, and my conscience
against all. There is another man within me that's
angry with me, rebukes, commands, and dastards me.
I have no conscience of marble, to resist the hammer of
more heavy offences: nor yet so soft and waxen, as to
take the impression of each single peccadillo or scape of
infirmity. I am of a strange belief, that it is as easy to
be forgiven some sins as to commit some others. For
my original sin, I hold it to be washed away in my
baptism; for my actual transgressions, I compute and
reckon with God but from my last repentance, sacra-
ment, or general absolution; and therefore am not
terrified with the sins or madness of my youth. I thank
the goodness of God, I have no sins that want a name.
I am not singular in offences; my transgressions are
epidemical, and from the common breath of our corrup-
tion. For there are certain tempers of body which,
matched with a humorous depravity of mind, do hath
and produce vitiosities, whose newness and monstrosity
of nature admits no name; this was the temper of that
lecher that carnaled with a statua, and the constitution
of Nero in his spintrian recreations. For the heavens
are not only fruitful in new and unheard-of stars, the
earth in plants and animals, but men's minds also in
villany and vices. Now the dulness of my reason, and
the vulgarity of my disposition, never prompted my in-
vention nor solicited my affection unto any of these;--
yet even those common and quotidian infirmities that
so necessarily attend me, and do seem to be my very
nature, have so dejected me, so broken the estimation
that I should have otherwise of myself, that I repute
myself the most abject piece of mortality. Divines pre-
scribe a fit of sorrow to repentance: there goes indigna-
tion, anger, sorrow, hatred, into mine, passions of a con-
trary nature, which neither seem to suit with this action,
nor my proper constitution. It is no breach of charity
to ourselves to be at variance with our vices, nor to
abhor that part of us, which is an enemy to the ground
of charity, our God; wherein we do but imitate our
great selves, the world, whose divided antipathies and
contrary faces do yet carry a charitable regard unto the
whole, by their particular discords preserving the com-
mon harmony, and keeping in fetters those powers,
whose rebellions, once masters, might be the ruin of all.

Sect. 8.--I thank God, amongst those millions of vices
I do inherit and hold from Adam, I have escaped one,
and that a mortal enemy to charity,--the first and
father sin, not only of man, but of the devil,--pride; a
vice whose name is comprehended in a monosyllable,
but in its nature not circumscribed with a world, I have
escaped it in a condition that can hardly avoid it. Those
petty acquisitions and reputed perfections, that advance
and elevate the conceits of other men, add no feathers
unto mine. I have seen a grammarian tower and plume
himself over a single line in Horace, and show more
pride, in the construction of one ode, than the author
in the composure of the whole book. For my own part,
besides the jargon and patois of several provinces, I
understand no less than six languages; yet I protest I
have no higher conceit of myself than had our fathers
before the confusion of Babel, when there was but one
language in the world, and none to boast himself either
linguist or critick. I have not only seen several coun-
tries, beheld the nature of their climes, the chorography
of their provinces, topography of their cities, but under-
stood their several laws, customs, and policies; yet
cannot all this persuade the dulness of my spirit unto
such an opinion of myself as I behold in nimbler and
conceited heads, that never looked a degree beyond
their nests. I know the names and somewhat more of
all the constellations in my horizon; yet I have seen
a prating mariner, that could only name the pointers
and the north-star, out-talk me, and conceit himself a
whole sphere above me. I know most of the plants of
my country, and of those about me, yet methinks I do
not know so many as when I did but know a hundred,
and had scarcely ever simpled further than Cheapside.
For, indeed, heads of capacity, and such as are not full
with a handful or easy measure of knowledge, think
they know nothing till they know all; which being
impossible, they fall upon the opinion of Socrates, and
only know they know not anything. I cannot think
that Homer pined away upon the riddle of the fisher-
men, or that Aristotle, who understood the uncertainty
of knowledge, and confessed so often the reason of man
too weak for the works of nature, did ever drown him-
self upon the flux and reflux of Euripus.<93> We do but
learn, to-day, what our better advanced judgments will
unteach to-morrow; and Aristotle doth but instruct us,
as Plato did him, that is, to confute himself. I have
run through all sorts, yet find no rest in any: though
our first studies and junior endeavours may style us
Peripateticks, Stoicks, or Academicks, yet I perceive
the wisest heads prove, at last, almost all Scepticks,<94>
and stand like Janus in the field of knowledge. I have
therefore one common and authentick philosophy I
learned in the schools, whereby I discourse and satisfy
the reason of other men; another more reserved, and
drawn from experience, whereby I content mine own.
Solomon, that complained of ignorance in the height of
knowledge, hath not only humbled my conceits, but
discouraged my endeavours. There is yet another con-
ceit that hath sometimes made me shut my books, which
tells me it is a vanity to waste our days in the blind
pursuit of knowledge: it is but attending a little longer,
and we shall enjoy that, by instinct and infusion, which
we endeavour at here by labour and inquisition. It is
better to sit down in a modest ignorance, and rest con-
tented with the natural blessing of our own reasons,
than by the uncertain knowledge of this life with sweat
and vexation, which death gives every fool gratis, and is
an accessary of our glorification.

Sect. 9.--I was never yet once, and commend their
resolutions who never marry twice. Not that I dis-
allow of second marriage; as neither in all cases of poly-
gamy, which considering some times, and the unequal
number of both sexes, may be also necessary. The
whole world was made for man, but the twelfth part of
man for woman. Man is the whole world, and the
breath of God; woman the rib and crooked piece of
man. I could be content that we might procreate like
trees, without conjunction, or that there were any way
to perpetuate the world without this trivial and vulgar
way of coition: it is the foolishest act a wise man com-
mits in all his life, nor is there anything that will more
deject his cooled imagination, when he shall consider
what an odd and unworthy piece of folly he hath com-
mitted. I speak not in prejudice, nor am averse from
that sweet sex, but naturally amorous of all that is
beautiful. I can look a whole day with delight upon a
handsome picture, though it be but of an horse. It is
my temper, and I like it the better, to affect all harmony;
and sure there is musick, even in the beauty and the
silent note which Cupid strikes, far sweeter than the
sound of an instrument. For there is a musick wher-
ever there is a harmony, order, or proportion; and thus
far we may maintain "the musick of the spheres:" for
those well-ordered motions, and regular paces, though
they give no sound unto the ear, yet to the understand-
ing they strike a note most full of harmony. Whatso-
ever is harmonically composed delights in harmony,
which makes me much distrust the symmetry of those
heads which declaim against all church-musick. For
myself, not only from my obedience but my particular
genius I do embrace it: for even that vulgar and tavern-
musick which makes one man merry, another mad,
strikes in me a deep fit of devotion, and a profound
contemplation of the first composer. There is some-
thing in it of divinity more than the ear discovers: it is
an hieroglyphical and shadowed lesson of the whole
world, and creatures of God,--such a melody to the ear,
as the whole world, well understood, would afford the
understanding. In brief, it is a sensible fit of that
harmony which intellectually sounds in the ears of God.
I will not say, with Plato, the soul is an harmony, but
harmonical, and hath its nearest sympathy unto musick:
thus some, whose temper of body agrees, and humours
the constitution of their souls, are born poets, though
indeed all are naturally inclined unto rhythm. This
made Tacitus, in the very first line of his story, fall upon
a verse;* and Cicero, the worst of poets, but declaim-
ing for a poet, falls in the very first sentence upon a

* "Urbem a Romam in principio reges habuere."

perfect hexameter.* I feel not in me those sordid and
unchristian desires of my profession; I do not secretly
implore and wish for plagues, rejoice at famines, revolve
ephemerides and almanacks in expectation of malignant
aspects, fatal conjunctions, and eclipses. I rejoice not
at unwholesome springs nor unseasonable winters: my
prayer goes with the husbandman's; I desire everything
in its proper season, that neither men nor the times be
out of temper. Let me be sick myself, if sometimes the
malady of my patient be not a disease unto me. I
desire rather to cure his infirmities than my own neces-
sities. Where I do him no good, methinks it is scarce
honest gain, though I confess 'tis but the worthy salary
of our well intended endeavours. I am not only
ashamed but heartily sorry, that, besides death, there
are diseases incurable; yet not for my own sake or that
they be beyond my art, but for the general cause and
sake of humanity, whose common cause I apprehend as
mine own. And, to speak more generally, those three
noble professions which all civil commonwealths do
honour, are raised upon the fall of Adam, and are not
any way exempt from their infirmities. There are not
only diseases incurable in physick, but cases indissolv-
able in law, vices incorrigible in divinity. If general
councils may err, I do not see why particular courts
should be infallible: their perfectest rules are raised
upon the erroneous reasons of man, and the laws of one
do but condemn the rules of another; as Aristotle oft-
times the opinions of his predecessors, because, though
agreeable to reason, yet were not consonant to his own
rules and the logick of his proper principles. Again,--
to speak nothing of the sin against the Holy Ghost,

* "In qua me non inferior mediocriter esse."--Pro Archia
whose cure not only, but whose nature is unknown,--I
can cure the gout or stone in some, sooner than divinity,
pride, or avarice in others. I can cure vices by physick
when they remain incurable by divinity, and they shall
obey my pills when they contemn their precepts. I
boast nothing, but plainly say, we all labour against our
own cure; for death is the cure of all diseases. There
is no catholicon or universal remedy I know, but this,
which though nauseous to queasy stomachs, yet to pre-
pared appetites is nectar, and a pleasant potion of im-

Sect. 10.--For my conversation, it is, like the sun's,
with all men, and with a friendly aspect to good and
bad. Methinks there is no man bad; and the worst
best, that is, while they are kept within the circle of
those qualities wherein they are good. There is no
man's mind of so discordant and jarring a temper, to
which a tuneable disposition may not strike a harmony.
Magnae virtutes, nec minora vitia; it is the posy<95> of
the best natures, and may be inverted on the worst.
There are, in the most depraved and venomous disposi-
tions, certain pieces that remain untouched, which by
an antiperistasis<96> become more excellent, or by the
excellency of their antipathies are able to preserve them-
selves from the contagion of their enemy vices, and
persist entire beyond the general corruption. For it is
also thus in nature: the greatest balsams do lie en-
veloped in the bodies of the most powerful corrosives.
I say moreover, and I ground upon experience, that
poisons contain within themselves their own antidote,
and that which preserves them from the venom of them-
selves; without which they were not deleterious to
others only, but to themselves also. But it is the cor-
ruption that I fear within me; not the contagion of
commerce without me. 'Tis that unruly regiment
within me, that will destroy me; 'tis that I do infect
myself; the man without a navel<97> yet lives in me.
I feel that original canker corrode and devour me: and
therefore, "Defenda me, Dios, de me!" "Lord, deliver me
from myself!" is a part of my litany, and the first voice
of my retired imaginations. There is no man alone,
because every man is a microcosm, and carries the whole
world about him. "Nunquam minus solus quam cum
* though it be the apothegm of a wise man is yet
true in the mouth of a fool: for indeed, though in a
wilderness, a man is never alone; not only because he
is with himself, and his own thoughts, but because he
is with the devil, who ever consorts with our solitude,
and is that unruly rebel that musters up those disordered
motions which accompany our sequestered imaginations.
And to speak more narrowly, there is no such thing as
solitude, nor anything that can be said to be alone, and
by itself, but God;--who is his own circle, and can sub-
sist by himself; all others, besides their dissimilary and
heterogeneous parts, which in a manner multiply their
natures, cannot subsist without the concourse of God,
and the society of that hand which doth uphold their
natures. In brief, there can be nothing truly alone,
and by its self, which is not truly one, and such is only
God: all others do transcend an unity, and so by con-
sequence are many.

Sect. 11.--Now for my life, it is a miracle of thirty
years, which to relate, were not a history, but a piece of
poetry, and would sound to common ears like a fable.
For the world, I count it not an inn, but an hospital;
and a place not to live, but to die in. The world that I
regard is myself; it is the microcosm of my own frame

* "Cic. de Off.," I. iii.

that I cast mine eye on: for the other, I use it but like
my globe, and turn it round sometimes for my recrea-
tion. Men that look upon my outside, perusing only
my condition and fortunes, do err in my altitude; for I
am above Atlas's shoulders.<98> The earth is a point not
only in respect of the heavens above us, but of the
heavenly and celestial part within us. That mass of
flesh that circumscribes me limits not my mind. That
surface that tells the heavens it hath an end cannot
persuade me I have any. I take my circle to be above
three hundred and sixty. Though the number of the
ark do measure my body, it comprehendeth not my
mind. Whilst I study to find how I am a microcosm,
or little world, I find myself something more than the
great. There is surely a piece of divinity in us; some-
thing that was before the elements, and owes no homage
unto the sun. Nature tells me, I am the image of God,
as well as Scripture. He that understands not thus
much hath not his introduction or first lesson, and is
yet to begin the alphabet of man. Let me not injure the
felicity of others, if I say I am as happy as any. Ruat
coelum, fiat voluntas tua,"
salveth all; so that, what-
soever happens, it is but what our daily prayers desire.
In brief, I am content; and what should providence
add more? Surely this is it we call happiness, and this
do I enjoy; with this I am happy in a dream, and as
content to enjoy a happiness in a fancy, as others in a
more apparent truth and reality. There is surely a
nearer apprehension of anything that delights us, in our
dreams, than in our waked senses. Without this I were
unhappy; for my awaked judgment discontents me,
ever whispering unto me that I am from my friend, but
my friendly dreams in the night requite me, and make
me think I am within his arms. I thank God for my
happy dreams, as I do for my good rest; for there is a
satisfaction in them unto reasonable desires, and such
as can be content with a fit of happiness. And surely
it is not a melancholy conceit to think we are all asleep
in this world, and that the conceits of this life are as
mere dreams, to those of the next, as the phantasms of
the night, to the conceits of the day. There is an equal
delusion in both; and the one doth but seem to be the
emblem or picture of the other. We are somewhat
more than ourselves in our sleeps; and the slumber of
the body seems to be but the waking of the soul. It is
the ligation of sense, but the liberty of reason; and our
waking conceptions do not match the fancies of our
sleeps. At my nativity, my ascendant was the watery
sign of Scorpio. I was born in the planetary hour of
Saturn, and I think I have a piece of that leaden planet
in me. I am no way facetious, nor disposed for the
mirth and galliardise<99> of company; yet in one dream
I can compose a whole comedy, behold the action, ap-
prehend the jests, and laugh myself awake at the con-
ceits thereof. Were my memory as faithful as my
reason is then fruitful, I would never study but in my
dreams, and this time also would I choose for my devo-
tions: but our grosser memories have then so little hold
of our abstracted understandings, that they forget the
story, and can only relate to our awaked souls a con-
fused and broken tale of that which hath passed. Aris-
totle, who hath written a singular tract of sleep, hath
not, methinks, thoroughly defined it; nor yet Galen,
though he seem to have corrected it; for those noctam-
and night-walkers, though in their sleep, do yet
enjoy the action of their senses. We must therefore say
that there is something in us that is not in the juris-
diction of Morpheus; and that those abstracted and
ecstatick souls do walk about in their own corpses, as
spirits with the bodies they assume, wherein they seem
to hear, see, and feel, though indeed the organs are
destitute of sense, and their natures of those faculties
that should inform them. Thus it is observed, that men
sometimes, upon the hour of their departure, do speak
and reason above themselves. For then the soul begin-
ning to be freed from the ligaments of the body, begins
to reason like herself, and to discourse in a strain above

Sect. 12.--We term sleep a death; and yet it is wak-
ing that kills us, and destroys those spirits that are the
house of life. 'Tis indeed a part of life that best ex-
presseth death; for every man truly lives, so long as he
acts his nature, or some way makes good the faculties
of himself. Themistocles therefore, that slew his soldier
in his sleep, was a merciful executioner: 'tis a kind of
punishment the mildness of no laws hath invented; I
wonder the fancy of Lucan and Seneca did not discover
it. It is that death by which we may be literally said
to die daily; a death which Adam died before his mor-
tality; a death whereby we live a middle and moderat-
ing point between life and death. In fine, so like death,
I dare not trust it without my prayers, and an half
adieu unto the world, and take my farewell in a col-
loquy with God:--

The night is come, like to the day;
Depart not thou, great God, away.
Let not my sins, black as the night,
Eclipse the lustre of thy light.
Keep still in my horizon; for to me
The sun makes not the day, but thee.
Thou whose nature cannot sleep,
On my temples sentry keep;
Guard me 'gainst those watchful foes,
Whose eyes are open while mine close.
Let no dreams my head infest,
But such as Jacob's temples blest.
While I do rest, my soul advance:
Make my sleep a holy trance:
That I may, my rest being wrought,
Awake into some holy thought,
And with as active vigour run
My course as doth the nimble sun.
Sleep is a death;--Oh make me try,
By sleeping, what it is to die!
And as gently lay my head
On my grave, as now my bed.
Howe'er I rest, great God, let me
Awake again at last with thee.
And thus assured, behold I lie
Securely, or to wake or die.
These are my drowsy days; in vain
I do now wake to sleep again:
Oh come that hour, when I shall never
Sleep again, but wake for ever!

This is the dormitive I take to bedward; I need no other
laudanum than this to make me sleep; after which I
close mine eyes in security, content to take my leave of
the sun, and sleep unto the resurrection.

Sect. 13.--The method I should use in distributive
justice, I often observe in commutative; and keep a
geometrical proportion in both, whereby becoming
equable to others, I become unjust to myself, and
supererogate in that common principle, "Do unto
others as thou wouldst be done unto thyself." I was
not born unto riches, neither is it, I think, my star to
be wealthy; or if it were, the freedom of my mind, and
frankness of my disposition, were able to contradict and
cross my fates: for to me avarice seems not so much a
vice, as a deplorable piece of madness; to conceive our-
selves urinals, or be persuaded that we are dead, is not
so ridiculous, nor so many degrees beyond the power of
hellebore,<100> as this. The opinions of theory, and posi-
tions of men, are not so void of reason, as their practised
conclusions. Some have held that snow is black, that
the earth moves, that the soul is air, fire, water; but
all this is philosophy: and there is no delirium, if we
do but speculate the folly and indisputable dotage of
avarice. To that subterraneous idol, and god of the
earth, I do confess I am an atheist. I cannot persuade
myself to honour that the world adores; whatsoever
virtue its prepared substance may have within my
body, it hath no influence nor operation without. I
would not entertain a base design, or an action that
should call me villain, for the Indies; and for this only
do I love and honour my own soul, and have methinks
two arms too few to embrace myself. Aristotle is too
severe, that will not allow us to be truly liberal with-
out wealth, and the bountiful hand of fortune; if this
be true, I must confess I am charitable only in my
liberal intentions, and bountiful well wishes. But if
the example of the mite be not only an act of wonder,
but an example of the noblest charity, surely poor men
may also build hospitals, and the rich alone have not
erected cathedrals. I have a private method which
others observe not; I take the opportunity of myself
to do good; I borrow occasion of charity from my own
necessities, and supply the wants of others, when I am
in most need myself: for it is an honest stratagem to
take advantage of ourselves, and so to husband the acts
of virtue, that, where they are defective in one circum-
stance, they may repay their want, and multiply their
goodness in another. I have not Peru in my desires,
but a competence and ability to perform those good
works to which he hath inclined my nature. He is
rich who hath enough to be charitable; and it is hard
to be so poor that a noble mind may not find a way to
this piece of goodness. "He that giveth to the poor
lendeth to the Lord:" there is more rhetorick in that
one sentence than in a library of sermons. And indeed,
if those sentences were understood by the reader with
the same emphasis as they are delivered by the author,
we needed not those volumes of instructions, but might
be honest by an epitome. Upon this motive only I
cannot behold a beggar without relieving his necessities
with my purse, or his soul with my prayers. These
scenical and accidental differences between us cannot
make me forget that common and untoucht part of us
both: there is under these centoes<101> and miserable
outsides, those mutilate and semi bodies, a soul of the
same alloy with our own, whose genealogy is God's as
well as ours, and in as fair a way to salvation as our-
selves. Statists that labour to contrive a commonwealth
without our poverty take away the object of charity;
not understanding only the commonwealth of a Chris-
tian, but forgetting the prophecy of Christ.*

Sect. 14.--Now, there is another part of charity, which
is the basis and pillar of this, and that is the love of
God, for whom we love our neighbour; for this I think
charity, to love God for himself, and our neighbour for
God. And all that is truly amiable is God, or as it were a
divided piece of him, that retains a reflex or shadow of
himself. Nor is it strange that we should place affec-
tion on that which is invisible: all that we truly love
is thus. What we adore under affection of our senses
deserves not the honour of so pure a title. Thus we

* "The poor ye have always with you."

adore virtue, though to the eyes of sense she be in-
visible. Thus that part of our noble friends that we
love is not that part that we embrace, but that insen-
sible part that our arms cannot embrace. God being
all goodness, can love nothing but himself; he loves us
but for that part which is as it were himself, and the
traduction of his Holy Spirit. Let us call to assize the
loves of our parents, the affection of our wives and
children, and they are all dumb shows and dreams,
without reality, truth, or constancy. For first there is
a strong bond of affection between us and our parents;
yet how easily dissolved! We betake ourselves to a
woman, forgetting our mother in a wife, and the womb
that bare us in that which shall bear our image. This
woman blessing us with children, our affection leaves
the level it held before, and sinks from our bed unto
our issue and picture of posterity: where affection holds
no steady mansion; they growing up in years, desire
our ends; or, applying themselves to a woman, take a
lawful way to love another better than ourselves. Thus
I perceive a man may be buried alive, and behold his
grave in his own issue.

Sect. 15.--I conclude therefore, and say, there is no
happiness under (or, as Copernicus* will have it, above)
the sun; nor any crambe<102> in that repeated verity and
burthen of all the wisdom of Solomon: "All is vanity
and vexation of spirit;" there is no felicity in that the
world adores. Aristotle, whilst he labours to refute
the ideas of Plato, falls upon one himself: for his
summum bonum is a chimaera; and there is no such
thing as his felicity. That wherein God himself is
happy, the holy angels are happy, in whose defect the
devils are unhappy;--that dare I call happiness: what-

* Who holds that the sun is the centre of the world.

soever conduceth unto this, may, with an easy metaphor,
deserve that name; whatsoever else the world terms
happiness is, to me, a story out of Pliny, a tale of Bocace
or Malizspini, an apparition or neat delusion, wherein
there is no more of happiness than the name. Bless
me in this life with but the peace of my conscience,
command of my affections, the love of thyself and my
dearest friends, and I shall be happy enough to pity
Caesar! These are, O Lord, the humble desires of my
most reasonable ambition, and all I dare call happiness
on earth; wherein I set no rule or limit to thy hand or
providence; dispose of me according to the wisdom of
thy pleasure. Thy will be done, though in my own





WHEN the general pyre was out, and the last
valediction over, men took a lasting adieu of
their interred friends, little expecting the
curiosity of future ages should comment upon their
ashes; and, having no old experience of the duration
of their relicks, held no opinion of such after-considera-

But who knows the fate of his bones, or how often he
is to be buried? Who hath the oracle of his ashes, or
whither they are to be scattered? The relicks of many
lie like the ruins of Pompey's,* in all parts of the earth;
and when they arrive at your hands these may seem to
have wandered far, who, in a direct and meridian travel,+

* "Pompeios juvenes Asia atque Europa, sed ipsum terra
tegit Libyos."
+ Little directly but sea, between your house and Green-

have but few miles of known earth between yourself
and the pole.

That the bones of Theseus should be seen again in
Athens* was not beyond conjecture and hopeful expecta-
tion: but that these should arise so opportunely to serve
yourself was an hit of fate, and honour beyond prediction.

We cannot but wish these urns might have the effect
of theatrical vessels and great Hippodrome urns+ in
Rome, to resound the acclamations and honour due unto
you. But these are sad and sepulchral pitchers, which
have no joyful voices; silently expressing old mortality,
the ruins of forgotten times, and can only speak with
life, how long in this corruptible frame some parts may
be uncorrupted; yet able to outlast bones long unborn,
and noblest pile among us.

We present not these as any strange sight or spectacle

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