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will lend him his extraordinary Hand; he shall exalt himfelf, by abandoning and renouncing his own proper Means, and by suffering himself to be raised and elevated by Means purely Celestial : It belongs to our Christian Faith, and not to Seneca's Stoical Virtues, to pretend to this divine and miraculous Metamorphosis.
CHA P. XIII.
Of judging of the Death of another.
HEN we judge of another's Courage in Denik,
which, without Doubr, is the most remarkable Action of human Life, we are to take Notice of one Thing, which is, that Men very hardly believe themselves to be arrived to that Period. Few Men die with an Alsurance that it is their last Hour, and there is nothing wherein the Flattery of Hope does more delude us. It never ceases to whisper in our Ears, Others No very refo« have been much sicker without dying; my lyte Asurance · Condition is not so desperate as 'tis thought, at the Article ' and, at the worst, God has wrought other of Death. · Miracles. This happens, by reason that we set too much Value upon ourselves. It seems, to us, as if the Universality of Things were, in some Measure, to suffer by our Annihilation, and that it did commiserate our Condition. Forasmuch as our depraved Sight represents Things to itself after the fame manner, and that we are of Opinion, they stand in as much Need of us, as we do of them; like People at Sea, to whom Mountains, Fields, Cities, Heaven and Earth are tossed at the same Rate as they are :
Provehimur portu, terræque urbesque recedunt .
Out of the Port, with a brisk Gale we speed,
Who s Æneid. lib. iii. v. 72.
Who ever saw an old Man, that did not applaud the past, and condemn the present Time, laying the Fault of his Misery and Discontent upon the World, and the Manners of Men ?
Jamque caput quafans grandis suspirat arator,
that we consider our Death as a very great The important Consequences Thing, and that does not so easily pass, nor Men are apt to without the folemn Consultation of the Stars : ascribe to their Tot circa unum caput tumultuantes Deos; as if Death.
there was a Rout among so many of the Gods about the Life of one Man, and the more we value ourselves, the more we think so. "What ! Thall fo much
Knowledge be lost, with so much Damage to the World, « without a particular Concern of the Destinies ? Does so s rare and exemplary a Soul cost no more the killing,
than one that is vulgar, and of no Use to the Public? • This Life that protects so many others, upon which fo ! many other Lives depend, that imploys so vast a Num• ber of Men in his Service, and that fills so many Places ; I shall it drop off
, like one that hangs but by its own fin“ gle Thread?' None of us lays it enough to Heart, that we are but one. Thence proceeded thefe Words of Cæfar to his Pilot, more tumid than the Sea that threatened him.
Italian si cælo authore recufas,
i Lucret. lib. ii. v. 1164.
u Lucan. lib. v. Va 579.
If thou to fail to Italy decline
credit jam digna pericula Cæfar
The Sun's And that idle Fancy of the Public, that the Mourning for Sun mourned for his Death a whole Year ;
the Death of
With tender Pity, and bewail'd its Doom. and a thousand of the like kind, wherewith the World suffers itself to be so easily imposed upon, believing, that our Interests alter the Heavens, and that they are concerned at our minute Actions. Non tanta Cælo societas nobifcum eft, ut nostro fato mortalis fit illi quoque fiderum fulgor. There is no such Partnership betwixt us and Heaven, that the Brightness of the Stars should decay by our Death.
Now, w Lucan. lib. v. v. 653, &c. * Virg: Georg. lib. i. v. 460, & y Plin. Nat. Hift. l. ii. C. 8.
Now, to judge of the Constancy and Resolution of a
Man, that does not yet believe himself to be What we ought to judge of the certainly in Danger, tho’ he really is, is no Fortitude of
Reason; and 'tis not enough, that he dies in many who bave this Proceeding, unless he did purposely put put themselves
himself to Death.
it for this End. It commonly
falls out, in moft Men, that they set a good Face upon the Matter, and speak big, to acquire a Reputation, which they hope also, whilst living, to enjoy. Of all that I have seen die, Fortune has disposed their Countenances, and not their Design; and even of those who, in ancient Times, have dispatched themselves, 'tis much to be noticed, whether it were a sudden, or a lingering Death. That cruel Roman Emperor, would say of his Prisoners, That he would make them feel Death; and if any one killed himself in Prison, That Fellow, said he, bas escaped from me. He was prolonging Death, and making it felt by Torments.
Vidimus et toto quamvis in corpore caso,
In plain Truth, it is no such great Matter, for a Man in Health, and in a settled Frame of Mind, to resolve to kill himself; it is very easy to boast before one comes to the Push: Insomuch that Heliogabalus, the most effeminate Man in the World, amongst his most sensual Pleasures, contrived to make himself die delicately, when he should be forced to it. And, that his Death' might not • give the Lye to the rest of his Life, had purposely built
a sumptuous Tower, the Front and Base whereof was covered and laid with Planks enriched with Gold and precious Stones, thence to precipitate himself; and also
caused z Lucan. lib. ii. v. 178, &c. • Æl. Lamprid. p. 112, 113. Hift. Auguft.
caused Cords, twisted with Gold and Crimson Silk, to • be made, wherewith to strangle himself; and a Sword, 6 with the Blade of Gold, to be hammered out to fall up
on; and kept Poison in Vessels of Emerald and Topaz, < wherewith to poison himself, according as he should like « co chuse either of these Ways of Dying.'
Impiger, et fortis virtute coafla 6.
By a forc'd Valour resolute and brave. Yet, as for this Person, the Effeminacy of his Preparations makes it more likely, that his Heart would have failed him, had he been put to the Teft. But in those who, with great Resolution, have determined to dispatch themselves, we must examine, whether it were with one Blow which took away the Leisure of feeling the Effect : For it is to be questioned, whether perceiving Life, by little and little, to steal away, the Sentiment of the Body mixing itself with that of the Soul, and the Means of repenting being offered, whether, I say, Constancy and Obstinacy, in so dangerous a Will, is to be found.
In the Civil Wars of Cafar , Lucius Domitius, being taken in Abruzzo, and thereupon poisoning
The Cowardice himself, afterwards repented of it. It has
of Domitius, happened, in our Time, that a certain Per- and others, son being resolved to dispatch himself, and who seemed rea not having gone deep enough at the first solved to put
themselves to Thrust, the Sensibility of the Flesh repul- Death. sing his Arm, he gave himself three or four Wounds more, but could never prevail upon himself to thrust home. Whilft < Plantius Sylvanus was upon his Trial, Virgulantia, his Grandmother, sent him a Poniard, with which, not being able to kill himself, he made his Servants to cut his Veins. * Albucilla, in Tiberius's Time, having, to kill himself, struck with too much Tenderness,
gave b Lucan. lib. iv. v. 798. Edit. Grov. in Octavo. • Plutarch in the Life of Julius Cafar, c. 10. d Tacit. Annal. lib. iv. • Idem, ibid. lib. vi.