Imágenes de páginas

i. e.

For Time the Nature of the World translates,
And gives all Things new from preceding States;
Nought like itself remains, but all do range,
And Nature forces ev'ry Thing to change.

«* And yet we foolishly fear one kind of Death, whereas we

* have already past, and do daily pass so many other." 'For

* not only, as Heraclitus/M the Death of Fire is the Ge« neration of Air, and the Death of Air the Generation of « Water:' "But, moreover, we may more clearly discern. "it in ourselves: The Prime of Life dies, and passes a« way when Old-Age comes on; and Youth is terminated "in the Prime of Life •, Infancy in Youth, and the first » Age dies in Infancy: Yesterday died in To-day, and "To-day will die in To-morrow; and there is nothing « that remains in the fame State, or that is always the « fame Thing. For, that it is so, let this be the Proof: "If we are always one and the fame, how comes it to pass, "that we are now pleased with one Thing, and by and by <■<■ with another? How is it that we love or hate, praise or « condemn contrary Things? How comes it to pass, that «< we have different Affections, and no more retain the « fame Sentiment in the fame Thought? For it is not *' likely, that, without Mutation, we should assume other « Passions j and that which suffers Mutation does, not re-» "main the fame, and if it be not the fame, it is not thereT « fore existing: But the fame that the Being is, does, like « it, change its Being, becoming evermore another from "another Thing •, and, consequently, the natural Senses "abuse and deceive themselves, taking that which seems, «« for that which is, for want of well knowing what thac "which is, is. But what is it.then that truly is? That "which is Eternal: That is to fay, that never had Be"ginning, nor never {hall have Ending, and to which "Time never brings any Mutation. For Time is a mov, "in^ Thing, and that appears as, in a Sha- Time a mowing « dow, with a Matter evermore flowing and f^n^-whb^ "running, without ever remaining Stable eimaixncy.^ « and Permanent: And to which those Words appertain

j .««. before, "* before, and after, has been, or shall be; which, at the "first Sight, evidently (hew, that it is not a Thing that *' is; for it were a great Folly, and an apparent Falsity, "to fay, that that is, which is not yet in Being, or that •* has already ceased to be: And as to these Words, Pre"sent, Instant, and Now, by which it seems, that we ** principally support and found the Intelligence of Time, "Reason discovering, it does presently destroy it; for it '* immediately divides and splits it into the Future and *' Past, being, of Necessity, to consider it divided in two. ** The same happens to Nature that is measured, as to *' Time that measures it; for she has nothing that is Sub** fisting and Permanent, but all Things are either Born, '* Bearing, or Dying. By which Means it were sinful "to fay of God, who is He who only is, that He was, or *' that He Jhall be: For those are Terms of Declension, "Passage, or Vicissitude, of what cannot continue, or "remain in Being. Wherefore we are to conclude, that "God only is, not according to any Measure of Timey ** but according to an immutable and an immoveable E"ternity, not measured by Time, nor subject to any De*' clension: Before whom nothing was, and after whom "nothing shall be, either more New, or more Recent; ** but a real Being, that, with one Sole Now, fills the for ** ever, and that there is nothing that truly is, but He *« alone -, without being able to fay, He has been, or Jhall '* be, without Beginning, and without End."

To this religious Conclusion of a Pagan I shall only add this Testimony r of one of the fame Condition, for the Close of this long and tedious Discourse, which would furnish me with endless Matter. What a vile and abjecl Thing, fays he, is Man, if he do not raise himself above Humanity? 'Tis a good Word, and a profitable Desire, but equally absurd; for, to make a Handful bigger than the Hand, and the Cubit longer than the Arm, and to hope so stride further than our Legs can reach, is both impossible and monstrous, or that Man should rise above himself and Humanity; for he cannot see but with his Eyes, nor seize but with his Power. He shall be exalted, if God


1 Seneca in his Natural ^uestion^ lib. i. in the Preface.


will lend him his extraordinary Hand; he shall exalt himself, 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.


Of judging of the Death of another.

WH E N we judge of another's Courage in Death* which, without Doubt, 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 Assurance that it is their last Hour, and there is nothing wherein the Flattery of Hope does more delude us. Ic never ceases to whisper in our Ears, * Others No ve rt& 1 have been much sicker without dying; my lute Jffurance

* Condition is not so desperate as 'tis thought, at llx ^rti^

* and, at the worst, God has wrought other "fDcatb' .

'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 softer by our Annihilation, and that- it did commiserate our Condition. Forasmuch as our depraved Sight represents Things to itself after the same 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 fame Rate as they are:

Provehimur porty, terrœque urbesque recedunt 3.

i. e.

Out of the Port, with a brisk Gale we speed,
Advancing, while the Shores and Towns recede.


'Æneid. lib. Ki. 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 quaffans grandis fuspirat water.
Et cum tempera, teniporibus præfetitia confers
Prœteritis, laudat for tunas fæpe parentis,
Et crefat anti<[ttttm genus ut pietate repletum '.

;'. e.
Now the old Ploughman sighs, and shakes his Head,
And, present Times comparing with those fled,
His Predecessors Happiness does praise,
And the great Piety of that old Race.

We draw all Things along with us 5 whence it follows, The important thaf we consider °ur Death as a very great Consequences Thing, and that does not so easily pass, nor Men are apt to without the solemn Consultation of the Stars: ascribe to thnr csot (jrfa mum caput tumultuantes Deos; as if

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! shall so much

* Knowledge be lost, with so much Damage to the World,

* without a particular Concern of the Destinies? Does so '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 so

* many other Lives depend, that imploys so vast a Num

* ber of Men in his Service, and that fills so many Places;

* 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 these Words of Cæsar to his Pilot, more tumid than the Sea that threatened him.

r Italiamfi ccelo authore recufas, 1 •■

Me pete: Sola tibi causa h<ec eft just a timoris,
Vectorem.non nojfe tuum, perrumpe procellas . •
Tuteld secure met:——— ".

t. e.

Lacreti Kb. ii. v. 1164. . » Lucan. 4ib. v. ^579.

i. e.

If thou to sail to Italy decline
Under the Gods Protection, trust to mine -,
The only just Cause that thou hail: to fear,
Is that thou dost not know thy Passenger;
But I being now aboard, tho' Neptune raves,
Fear not to cut thro' the tempestuous Waves.

And these,

cfedit jam digna pericula Caesar

Fatis ejje suis: Tantufque ever ter e (dixit)
Me super labor est, parvd quern puppe sedentew,
'Tarn magno petiere mart. w.

/'. e.

These Dangers, worthy of his Destiny, Casar did now believe, and then did cry, What, is it for the Gods a Task so great To overthrow me, that, to do the Feat, In a poor little Bark they must be fain Here to surprise me on the swelling Main? . , , • Tie Swft

And that idle Fancy of the Public, that the Mourning fir

Sun mourned for his Death a whole Year; 'j* ^eatb °s

Ille etiam extincto miseratus Cœsare Rcmam,
Cum caput obscurd nitidum ferrugine texit \

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/. e.

The Sun, when Casar fell, was touch'd for Rome
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. T Non tanta Ccelo societas nobiscum eft, ut nostro fato mortalisstt Mi quoque siderum sulgor. There is no such Partnership betwixt us and Heaven, that the Brightness of the Stars mould decay by our, Death.


» Lucan. lib. v. v. 653, i&c. x Virg, Georg. lib. i. v. 460, &c

y Plin. Nat. Hift. 1. ii. 0 8.

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