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One question, very nearly akin to these, he unfortunately missed; viz. “whether the bird was before the egg, or the egg before the bird,” the discussion of which might have furnished both him and his readers with several pages of entertainment. It must be owned it is no great matter which side one takes on such important questions. Nor is it much more material to discover, whether those apparitions which, he says, appear about cemeteries, be devils, as he decides, or simply ghosts, as Digby, and knowing people in general, believe. It is clear, however, as Addison gravely observes on the subject of witchcraft, that“ much may be said on both sides.” Sir Thomas argues the matter, as devil's advocate, with much ingenuity. “I believe that the souls of men know neither contrary nor corruption; that they subsist beyond the body, and outlive death by the privilege of their own proper natures, and without a miracle;” (in which belief he is quite orthodox.) “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 stealing into our hearts, that the blessed spirits are not at rest in their graves," (a curious article of faith!) “but wander, solicitous of the affairs of the world; but that those phantoms 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." (0)
Now, in this, Digby by no means concurs. He is staunch for the ghosts. Souls,” he gravely observes, " that go out of their bodies with affection to those objects they leave behind them, (which usually is as long as they can relish them,) do retain still, even in their separation, a bias and a languishing towards them; which is the reason why such terrene souls appear oftenest in cemeteries and charnel-houses, and not that moral one which our author giveth. For life, which is union with the body, being that which carnal souls have straitest affection to, and that they are loathest to be separated from ; their unquiet spirit, which can never naturally lose the impressions it had wrought in it at the time of its driving out, lingereth perpetually after that dear consort of his. The impossibility cannot cure them of their impotent desires ; they would fain be alive again,
Iterumque ad tarda reverti Corpora. Quæ lucis miseris tam dira cupido!'” (*) Tyrant or not, Dionysius was right, if it was of such disquisitions he said, “sunt ista verba senum otiosorum.” But Lord Bacon, who in this agreed with him, appears to have made the quotation from imperfect recollection. The real words of the Syracusan, uttered in resentment of Plato's defence
(1) Religio Medici, p. 73, 74.
of freedom, were, oi đóyou goû yepovtlõoi, though it is not often that old men are so enthusiastic on such a subject. However, the philosopher had him on the hip :-ooõ dé yɛ tupavviñoi, replied he; and the taunt of old age on the one side, and of tyranny on the other, put an end to an acquaintance which ought never to have been formed.(10)
To return : discussions like the above may occupy agreeably enough an idle scholar, musing in his easy-chair, but can very little profit the philosopher, or the man of the world. Fortunately, however, they rather constitute the garnishing than the subject of Browne's speculations. He vends, as I have shown, much better wares, when in his serious moods; and, in consideration of these, the others may be tolerated. Still, a principal characteristic of the “Religio Medici" is the singular knot of idiosyncrasies it exhibits, of which the principal undoubtedly is the evident longing of its author to be removed, both in belief and practice, as far as possible from the common people:
" Farthest from thee is best.”
He delighted to contemplate the gulf which divided him from the crowd. « The advantage I have of the vulgar, with the contentment and happiness I conceive therein, is an ample recompense for all my endeavours, in what part of knowledge soever."(") And who knows how great is the
(10) Diog. Laert. III. p. 74, edit. Menag.
number of those that would not thus confess it, who find the principal reward of study in this ? Many is the feverish egotist who will predicate of himself that
“ His soul is like a star, and dwells apart."
Though there be often much more than Browne imagined of common-place sentiment in this shrinking from other men. Disguise it how we may, it
proceeds more from a fear that, in their society, we shall not appear“ fellows of mark and likelihood," than from any genuine consciousness of superiority. He apparently found that mén encroached too much upon his consequence, that their preju. dices or their logic proved too tough to be subdued, and took to flight, because he could not conquer.
This, however, was as if, in his own profession, a man were to fly from all diseases that would not immediately yield to his remedies. But the great physician knows no discouragement. Defeated today, he to-morrow returns again to the trial, contests the ground inch by inch with Death, nor yields, nor abates a jot of heart or hope till the
pale flag" of the adversary be advanced upon the ramparts. And so is it with the moral physician. He will not hide himself from those whom he attempts to benefit. He will pursue humanity into its worst recesses, and feel its pulse under the most loathsome rags of ignorance and misfortune. Like the Hindoo god, Brahma, he might start, perhaps, and be troubled, could he
but his power.
find himself alone in the world ; but will never quake or tremble where there is man. Nor does he reserve his benefits for the good alone. His bounty knows no limits
And in this he humbly imitates the Creator, who “ causeth his sun to shine upon the evil and upon the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Thus, too, he may in part, perhaps, fulfil the Christian precept of loving those who hate us
-for among the crowd there possibly are some who hold him in aversion. But he does not love them for their love, that were an every-day matter; he loves them because they belong to our common nature--because they are men. And he will still love them, though they may, in their ignorance, repay him with ingratitude.
Mr. Wingrove Cooke, in his History of Parties, appears to think he is complimenting Burke, when he says that he hated the people; but what worse, or, indeed, what else, could he have said, had he been composing the panegyric of Satan? Burke no doubt, at a certain point of his career, deserted the people's cause, and despised many of the qualities with which ignorance invests the populace, whom, in consequence, he denominated « the swinish multitude;" but I cannot, for all that, believe anything so ill of him, as that he hated the people, though the Examiner may be too charitable, (which is a generous error,) when it supposes him rather to have erred through “ too much love."
Nor can I believe, even on his own testimony,