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and tincture of reason in as high a measure as it can evidence itself in those improper organs ? Nor truly can I peremptorily deny that the soul in this, her sublunary estate, is wholly and in all acceptions inorganical; but that, for the performance of her ordinary actions, there is required not only a symmetry and proper disposition of organs, but a crasis and temper correspondent to its operations. Yet is not this mass of flesh and visible structure the instrument and proper corps 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 heathen to divinity; yet amongst all those rare discoveries and curious pieces I find in the fabric 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 cranium 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.
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 fabric 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 behold 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 the metamorphoses, or transmigrations, I believe only one, that is of Lot's wife; for that of Nebuchadnezzar proceeded not so far; in all others I conceive there is no further verity that 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 beyond 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 appari. tions 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 villainy, instilling and stealing 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, charnal houses, and churches, it is because those are the dormitories of the dead, where the devil, like an insolent cham. pion, beholds with pride the spoils and trophies of his victory over Adam.
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 straight ligaments or narrow obligations to the world as to dote on life, or be convulsed 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 relics, like vespilloes, or grave makers, I am become stupid, or have forgot the apprehension of mortality; but that marshaling 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 miserablest person extant. Were there not another life that I hope for, all the vanities of this world should not entreat a moment's breath for 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 conceit 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
desire death. I honor any man that contemns it, nor can I highly love any that is afraid of it. This makes me naturally love a soldier, and honor 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.
Some divines 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 elder 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 graduations. In that obscure world and 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, 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 rise 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 secondine, 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 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 awhile within this house of fesh. 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 discover.
I am naturally bashful, nor hath conversation, 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. It is 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, for. getting 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, unpitied, 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 for 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 any.
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 me a mere fallacy, unworthy the desires 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 monument, history, or epitaph, not so much as the 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 altogether allow that rhodomontade of Lucan:
but commend, in my calmer judgment, those ingenuous intentions that desire to sleep by the urns of their fathers and strive to go the nearest way unto corruption. I do not envy the temper 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 a jubilee. As yet I have not seen one revolution of Saturn, nor hath my pulse beat thirty years; and yet, excepting one, have seen the ashes of and left underground all the kings of Europe; have been contemporary to three emperors, four grand signors, 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 antics, to my severe contemplations.
It is not, I confess, an unlawful prayer to desire to surpass the days of our Savior, or wish to outlive that age wherein he thought fittest to die; yet if (as divinity affirms) there shall be no gray 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, bringing 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 agree in all other circumstances, as at forty, but swells and doubles from that circumstance of our ages, wherein, besides the constant and inexcusable habit of transgressing, the maturity of our judgment cuts off pretense 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 arithmetic, 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 instructs me how to be better, but my untamed affections and confirmed vitiosity makes me daily do worse. I find in my confirmed 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