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makes innocent, who deal so with men in this world, that they are not afraid to meet them in the next; who, when they die, make no commotion among the dead, and are not touched with that poetical taunt of Isaiah.*
Pyramids, arches, obelisks, were but the irregularities of vain-glory and wild enormities of ancient magnanimity. But the most magnanimous resolution rests in the Christian religion, which trampleth upon pride, and sits on the neck of ambition, humbly pursuing that infallible perpetuity, unto which all others must diminish their diameters, and be poorly seen in angles of contingency.t
Pious spirits, who passed their days in raptures of futurity, made little more of this world than the world that was before it, while they lay obscure in the chaos of preördination and night of their forebeings. And if any have been so happy as truly to understand Christian annihilation, ecstasis, exolution, liquefaction, transformation, the kiss of the spouse, gustation of God, and ingression into the divine shadow, they have already had a handsome anticipation of heaven; the glory of the world is surely over, and the earth in ashes unto them. To subsist in lasting monuments, to live in their productions, to exist in their names and predicament of chimeras, was large satisfaction unto old expectations, and made one part of their Elysium. But all this is nothing in the metaphysics of true belief. To live indeed, is to be again ourselves, which being not only a hope but an evidence in noble believers, 't is all one to lie in St. Innocent's churchyard, * as in the sands of Egypt,t ready to be any thing, in the ecstasy of being ever, and as content with six feet as the moles of Adrianus. I
* Isaiah xiv, 9, et seq. † Angulus contingentiæ, the least of angles.
66 Tabesne cadavera solyat “ An rogus, haud refert.” Lucan.
* In Paris, where bodies soon consume. + Beneath the pyramids.
# A stately mausoleum, or sepulchral pile, built by Adrianus in Rome, where now standeth the castle of St. Angelo.
LETTER TO A FRIEND
DEATH OF HIS INTIMATE FRIEND.
GIVE me leave to wonder that news of this nature should have such heavy wings, that you should hear so little concerning your dearest friend, and that I must make that unwilling repetition to tell you, "ad portam rigidos calces extendit,” that he is dead and buried, and by this time no puny among the mighty nations of the dead; for though he left this world not very many days past, yet every hour, you know, largely addeth unto that dark society; and, considering the incessant mortality of mankind, you cannot conceive there dieth in the whole earth so few as a thousand an hour.
Although at this distance you had no early account or particular of his death, yet your affection may cease to wonder that you had not