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gaged her husband into a contention for it, and at last into a law-suit with a dogged neighbour, who was as rich as he, and had a wife as peevish and purse-proud as the other; and this law-suit begot higher oppositions and actionable words, and more vexations and law-suits; for you must remember that both were rich, and must therefore have their wills. Well, this wilful purse-proud law-suit lasted during the life of the first husband, after which his wife vexed and chid, and chid and vexed, till she also chid and vexed herself into her grave; and so the wealth of these poor rich people was cursed into a punishment, because they wanted meek and thankful hearts, for those only can make us happy. I knew a man that had health and riches, and several houses, all beautiful and readyfurnished, and would often trouble himself and family to be removing from one house to another; and being asked by a friend why he removed so often from one house to another, replied, "It was to find content in some one of them." But his friend knowing his temper, told him, "If he would find content in any of his houses, he must leave himself behind him; for content will never dwell but in a meek and quiet soul." And this may appear, if we read and consider what our Saviour says in St Matthew's Gospel, for He there says, "Blessed be the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed be the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed be the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. And blessed be the meek, for they shall possess the earth." Not that the meek shall not also obtain mercy, and see God, and be comforted, and at last come to the kingdom of heaven; but, in the meantime, he, and he only, possesses the earth, as he goes toward that kingdom of heaven, by being humble and cheerful, and content with what his good God has allotted him. He has no turbulent, repining, vexatious thoughts that he deserves better; nor is vexed when he sees others possessed of more honour or more riches than his wise God has allotted for his
THE MAN AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART.
share; but he possesses what he has with a meek and contented quietness, such a quietness as makes his very dreams pleasing, both to God and to himself.
My honest scholar, all this is told to incline you to thankfulness; and, to incline you the more, let me tell you, that though the prophet David was guilty of murder and adultery, and many other of the most deadly sins, yet he was said to be a man after God's own heart, because he abounded more with thankfulness than any other that is mentioned in Holy Scripture, as may appear in his book of Psalms, where there is such a commixture of his confessing of his sins and unworthiness, and such thankfulness for God's pardon and mercies, as did make him to be accounted, even by God himself, to be a man after His own heart: and let us, in that, labour to be as like him as we can; let not the blessings we receive daily from God make us not to value, or not praise Him, because they may be common; let not us forget to praise Him for the innocent mirth and pleasure we have met with since we met together. What would a blind man give to see the pleasant rivers, and meadows, and flowers, and fountains, that we have met with since we met together? I have been told, that if a man that was born blind could obtain to have his sight for but only one hour during his whole life, and should, at the first opening of his eyes, fix his sight upon the sun when it was in his full glory, either at the rising or setting of it, he would be so transported and amazed, and so admire the glory of it, that he would not willingly turn his eyes from that first ravishing object to behold all the other various beauties this world could present to him. And this, and many other like blessings, we enjoy daily. And for most of them, because they be so common, most men forget to pay their praises; but let not us, because it is a sacrifice so pleasing to Him that made that sun and us, and still protects us, and gives us flowers, and showers, and stomachs, and meat, and content, and leisure to go a fishing.
Well, scholar, I have almost tired myself, and, I fear, more than almost tired you. But I now see Tottenham High Cross, and our short walk thither will put a period to my too long discourse, in which my meaning was, and is, to plant that in your mind with which I labour to possess my own soul-that is, a meek and thankful heart. And to that end I have shewed you that riches without them (meekness and thankfulness) do not make any man happy. But let me tell you that riches with them remove many fears and cares. And, therefore, my advice is, that you endeavour to be honestly rich, or contentedly poor; but be sure that your riches be justly got, or you spoil all; for it is well said by Caussin, "He that loses his conscience has nothing left that is worth keeping." Therefore, be sure you look to that. And, in the next place, look to your health, and if you have it, praise God, and value it next to a good conscience; for health is the second blessing that we mortals are capable of-a blessing that money cannot buyand therefore value it, and be thankful for it. As for money (which may be said to be the third blessing), neglect it not; but note, that there is no necessity of being rich; for I told you there may be as many miseries beyond riches as on this side them; and if you have a competence, enjoy it with a meek, cheerful, thankful heart. I will tell you, scholar, I have heard a grave divine say that God has two dwellings, one in heaven, and the other in a meek and thankful heart; which Almighty God grant to me and to my honest scholar! And so you are welcome to Tottenham High Cross.
SIR THOMAS BROWNE.
Milton himself not excepted, there is no author so poetical in his prose, so enigmatical in his expositions, so Latin in his English, as the sage of Norwich; nor, we may add, are there many authors at once so fantastic and so sublime, so exact in
SIR THOMAS BROWNE.
their learning, and so unrestrained in the flights of their imagination. Indeed, the boldness of his excursions, and his fondness for paradox, brought into question the soundness of his faith, and the cabalistic style of his composition repels many readers to this day; but for those who have the patience of translators, and who are not ashamed of being occasionally puzzled, a rich reward is provided in the "Religio Medici," the "Hydriotaphia," and "Christian Morals." As a recent critic has remarked-" He seems like no other writer, and his vast and solitary abstractions, stamped with his peculiar style, like the hieroglyphic characters of the East, carry the imagination back into the primeval ages of the world, or forward into the depths of eternity."* At the same time, far from impeaching the sincerity of his faith, we could almost envy that willingness to be "unclothed," partly the result of superiority to sensual enjoyments, and partly the impatience of a spirit strong in the excess of immortality, which bursts through many noble passages. The conclusion of Dr Johnson, will be the conclusion of the candid student of his works in connexion with his history, "that he was a zealous adherent to the faith of Christ, that he lived in obedience to His laws, and died in confidence of His mercy."
Sir Thomas Browne was born in London, Oct. 19, 1605, and in 1636, settled as a physician in the city of Norwich, where he attained to a large practice and a great reputation, and where he died Oct. 19, 1682.
There is nothing strictly immortal but immortality. Whatever hath no beginning may be confident of no end, which is the peculiar of that necessary essence which cannot destroy itself, and the highest strain of omnipotency to be so power
* Chambers's Cyclopædia of English Literature, vol. i. p. 300.
fully constituted, as not to suffer even from the power of itself. All others have a dependent being, and within the reach of destruction. But the sufficiency of Christian immortality frustrates all earthly glory, and the quality of either state after death makes a folly of posthumous memory. God, who can only destroy our souls, and hath assured our resurrection, either of our bodies or names, hath directly promised no duration. Wherein there is so much of chance, that the boldest expectants have found unhappy frustration; and to hold long subsistence, seems but a scape in oblivion. But man is a noble animal, splendid in ashes, and pompous in the grave, solemnising nativities and deaths with equal lustre, nor omitting ceremonies of bravery in the infamy of his nature.
Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible sun within us. A small fire sufficeth for life, great flames seemed too little after death, while men vainly affected precious pyres, and to burn like Sardanapalus; but the wisdom of funeral laws found the folly of prodigal blazes, and reduced undoing fires unto the rule of sober obsequies, wherein few could be so mean as not to provide wood, pitch, a mourner, and an urn.
Five languages* secured not the epitaph of Gordianus. The man of God lives longer without a tomb than any by one, invisibly interred by angels, and adjudged to obscurity, though not without some remarks directing human discovery. Enoch and Elias, without either tomb or burial, in an anomalous state of being, are the great examples of perpetuity, in their long and living memory in strict account being still on this side death, and having a late part yet to act upon this stage of earth. If in the decretory term of the world, we shall not all die but be changed, according to received translation, the last day will make but few graves; at least, quick resurrections will anticipate lasting sepultures. Some graves will be opened
* Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Egyptian, and Arabic, defaced by Licinius the Emperor.