« PredošláPokračovať »
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 ourselves urinals, or be persuaded that we are dead, is not so ridiculous, nor so many degrees beyond the power of hellebore,* as this. The opinions of theory, and positions 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 without 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 i 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.7 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:8 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 circumstance, 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 the Almighty]ohath 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 and miserable outsides, those mutilate and semi bodies, a soul of the same alloy with our own, whose genealogy is God as well as ours, and in as fair a way to salvation as ourselves. Statists that labour to contrive a commonwealth without poverty take away the object of our charity; not understanding only the commonwealth of a christian, but forgetting the prophecy of Christ. *
described in two kinds—one, named jus- delirium, when compared with the folly of tice distributive, which is in distribution avarice, &c."-Ed. of honour, money, benefice, or other thing 6 its prepared substance, &c.] Alludsemblable : the other is called commuta- ing to the aurum portabile, of which see tive, or by exchange.' " Sir T. Elyot, Gov. Vulgar Errors, b. iii, c. 23.--Ed. fol. 142.-Ed.
7 surely poor men fc.] All the MSS. 4 hellebore,] Said to be a specific and Edts. 1642 read, “I can justly against madness.—Ed.
boast I am as charitable as some who 5 there is no delirium, fc.] “Meaning have built hospitals, or erected cathethere is nothing deserving the name of drals."-Ed.
Sect. XIV.—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. 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 affection 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 adore virtue, though to the eyes of sense she be invisible. Thus that part of our noble friends that we love is not that part that we embrace, but that insensible 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 affections of our wives and children, and they are all dumb shews 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.
* “The poor ye shall have always with you."- MS. W.
8 myself:] Here all the MSS. and Edts. I centoes] Patched garments.- Ed. 1642 add, “when I am reduced to the 2 both: there is under fc.] Instead of last tester, I love to divide it with the this sentence, all the MSS. and Edts. poor."-Ed.
1642 read, "both, the soul, being of the 9 the Almighty] The words between same alloy."-Ed. brackets are inserted from MS. W. and 3 not understanding only] Or rather Edts. 1642; the others read, he.--Ed. not only not understanding."--Ed.
I conclude therefore, and say, there is no happiness under (or, as Copernicus* will have it, above) the sun; nor any crambos 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
* Who holds that the sun is the centre of the world." -MS. W.
4 loves] Edts. 1642 and 1643 read, be noticed again in another place.—Ed. lives.
5 nor any crambo in that repeated veriAll the MSS. and the later Edts. read, ty &c.] Meaning that the sentiment exloves : with which reading the foreign pressed by Solomon is a truth which editions agree.
cannot be too often repeated. In this instance then it is clear that Crambo is a play in rhyıning, in which the translator detected an errour which he that repeats a word that was said behad not only passed through the two sur- fore forfeits something.-Crahb's Techn. reptitious editions, but was repeated by Dict. the author in the first genuine edition. In all the MSS. and Edts. 1642 the -Ed.
words nor any cramb are wanting -Ed. a who holds fc.] An opinion which 6 Aristotle, whilst fc.] Vid. EudeSir Thomas Browne would by no means mior. I. i, c. 8, et Metaphys. I. i, c. 7. adopt; as has already appeared, and will - M.
summum bonum? is a chimæra; 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 : whatsoever 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, 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 Cæsar! 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 undoing.
7 his summum bonum] Vid. Eudemior. read, “ These are, O Lord, happiness on 1. i, et ii.-et De Moribus, l. i, c. 7, 8, earth.”—Ed. 9, et seq.-M.
2 wisdom] All the MSS. and Edis. 8 out of Pliny,] These words are not 1642 read, justice.-Ed. in MS. W. nor Edts. 1642.-Ed.
3 Thy will &c.] This concluding sen9 thyself and] Not in MSS. nor Edts. tence is not in MSS.W. 2. & R. MS. W. 1642.-Ed.
and Edts. 1642 read, “ Thy will be done, O Lord, the humble de- though in mine own damnation.”—Ed. sires fc.] All the MSS. and Edts. 1642
1 These are,
The OBSERVATIONS ON RELIGIO MEDICI, which occupy the following pages, were communicated by Sir KenelM DIGBY (during his confinement in Winchester House) to the Earl of Dorset. While they were in the press, a correspondence respecting them took place between the author and Sir Thomas Browne, in which it appears to have been Sir Thomas's object to induce Sir Kenelm Digby to delay the publication of his Observations, which were on the surreptitious edition, till the appearance of the genuine one should have enabled him to revise them. That correspondence, together with an anonymous notice on the same subject, were printed at the end of the edition of 1643. In the subsequent editions they precede Religio Medici; an arrangement which has in the present been preferred.-Ed.