« AnteriorContinuar »
; 2. True Affection. There are wonders in true affection, it is a body of enigmas, mysteries and riddles; wherein two so become one, as they both become two; I love my friend before myself, and yet methinks I do not love him enough; some few months hence my multiplied affection will make me believe I have not loved him at all; when I am from him, I am dead till I be with him; when I am with him, I am not satisfied, but would still be nearer him: united souls are not satisfied with embraces, but desire to be truly each other, which being impossible, their desires are infinite, and must proceed without a possibility of satisfaction. Another misery there is in affection, that whom we truly love like our own, we forget their looks, nor can our memory retain the idea of their faces, and it is no wonder, for they are ourselves, and our affection makes their looks our own. This noble affection falls not on vulgar and common constitutions, but on such as are marked for virtue; he that can love his friend with this noble ardour, will in a competent degree affect all. Now if we can bring our affections to look beyond the body, and cast an eye upon the soul, we have found out the true object, not only of friendship but charity; and the greatest happiness that we can bequeath the soul, is that wherein we all do place our last felicity, salvation; which though it be not in our power to bestow, it is in our charity, and pious invocations to desire, if not procure and further. I cannot contentedly frame a prayer for myself in particular, without a catalogue for my friends, nor request a happiness wherein my sociable disposition doth not desire the fellowship of my neighbour. I never hear the toll of a passing bell, though in my mirth, without my prayers and best wishes for the departing spirit: I cannot go to cure the body of my patient, but I forget my profession, and call unto God for his soul; I cannot see one say his prayers, but instead of imitating him, I fall into a supplication for him, who perhaps is no more to me than a common nature: and if God hath vouchsafed an ear to my supplications, there are surely many happy that never saw me, and enjoy the blessing of mine unknown devotions. To pray for enemies, that is, for their salvation, is no harsh precept, but the practice of our daily and ordinary devotions. I cannot believe the story of the Italian, our bad wishes and uncharitable desires proceed no further than this life; it is the devil, and the uncharitable votes of hell, that desire our misery in the world to come.
3. The faithful Physician. I FEEL not in me those sordid and unchristian desires of my profession; I do not secretly implore and wish for plagues, rejoice at famines, revolve ephemerides and almanacks in expectation of malignant aspects, fatal conjunctions, and eclipses : I rejoice not at unwholesome springs, nor unseasonable winters; my prayer goes with the husbandman's; I desire everything in its proper season, that neither men nor the times be put out of temper. Let me be sick myself, if sometimes the malady of my patient be not a disease unto me, I desire rather to cure his infirmities than my own necessities; where I do him no good methinks it is scarce honest gain, though I confess it is but the worthy salary of our well-intended endeavours: I am not only ashamed, but heartily sorry, that besides death, there are diseases incurable, yet not for my own sake, or that they be beyond my art, but for the general cause and sake of humanity whose common cause I apprehend as mine own. And to speak more generally, those three noble professions which all civil Commonwealths do honour, are raised upon the fall of Adam, and are not any exempt from their infirmities; there are not only diseases incurable in physic, but cases indissoluble in laws, vices incorrigible in divinity; if general councils may err, I do not see why particular courts should be infallible, their perfectest rules are raised upon the erroneous reasons of man, and the laws of one do but condemn the rules of another; as Aristotle oft-times the opinions of his predecessors, because, though agreeable to reason, yet were not consonant to his own rules, and logic of his proper principles. Again, to speak nothing of the sin against the Holy Ghost, whose cure not only, but whose nature is unknown; I can cure the gout or stone in some sooner than divinity, pride, or avarice in others. I can cure vices by physic, when they remain incurable by divinity, and shall obey my pills, when they contemn their precepts. I boast nothing, but plainly say, we all labour against our own cure, for death is the cure of all diseases. There is no Catholicon or universal remedy I know but this, which though nauseous to queasy stomacks, yet to prepared appetites is nectar, and a pleasant portion of immortality.
For my conversation, it is like the sun's with all men, and with a friend aspect to good and bad. Methinks there is no man bad, and the worst, best; that is, while they are kept within the circle of those qualities wherein there is good : there is no man's mind of such discordant and jarring a temper to which a tuneable disposition may not strike a harmony. Magnae virtutes, nec minora vitia, it is the poesy of the best natures, and may be inverted on the worst; there are in the most depraved and venomous dispositions, certain pieces that remain untouched, which by an Antiperistasis become more excellent, or by the excellency of their antipathies are able to preserve themselves from the contagion of their enemies' vices, and persist entire beyond the general corruption.
THOMAS FULLER was born at All Winkle in Northamptonshire in 1608. His father, rector of that parish, was probably his only teacher till at the age of twelve he sent him to Cambridge, where in 1628 he took the degree of M.A. At the age of twentythree he became prebend of Salisbury, and vicar of Broad Windsor. Here he spent some ten quiet years working in his parish and writing his 'Holy War' and 'Pisgah-Sight of Palestine.' Tidings came to him from time to time of the struggle which was growing fiercer every day between the nation and the king. To Fuller, the son of a High-churchman, and bred in the loyal University of Cambridge, devotion to the existing sovereign was the natural expression of allegiance to the King of kings, and it was with grief and horror that he heard of his country's apostasy. At last, impatient of inaction he hastened to London. There, in many pulpits, chiefly those of the Savoy and the Inns of Court, he boldly preached submission to the Lord's Anointed. His earnestness and brilliant wit attracted crowds to listen to him, and drew upon him the observation of the Long Parliament which was then sitting. In 1643, he was required to sign a declaration that he would support the measures of Parliament. He signed, with too many reservations to satisfy the authorities, and the oath was on the point of being tendered to him again, when he quietly betook himself to the king's quarters at Oxford, saving thereby his conscience and losing his preferment. Lord Hopton made him his chaplain, and he became 'Preacher militant' to the king's soldiers. As he wandered about with the
army he gathered materials for his Worthies of England.' But such a life was less favourable to his Church History. It is of no value as a history till it reaches his own times, and yet it charms by the wit which sparkles in every page. In the spring of 1644 he left the army and took refuge in Exeter. It was during this lull that he wrote his 'Good Thoughts in Bad Times.' On the surrender of Exeter, Fuller obtained special terms from Fairfax, under which he returned to London. He was living in a small lodging, working at his Worthies and praying for the king's return, when that royal martyr was murdered,' and 'the foul deed' so completely crushed him that it was long before he could take heart to work again. After 1655 the Protector allowed him freely to preach, though other Royalists were silenced. On the Restoration he was made Chaplain extraordinary to Charles II, and D.D. by the University of Cambridge at the King's request. He died on the 12th of Aug. 1661. He was twice married. His writings are full of graphic touches and deep wisdom, and though his quaint fancy often led him beyond the bounds of good taste, he was never irreverent in meaning. His piety and genial humour might well atone for greater faults. Few writers tell a story better: and none, perhaps, have equalled him in the art of conveying a truth under the guise of a familiarsounding proverb.
1. King David fleeth from Jerusalem. OVER the Southern part of Mount Olivet David fled from Absalom; for perceiving that his son by state-felony had stolen away his people's hearts he politicly resolved not to be pent in Jerusalem (where the land-flood of a popular mutiny might presently drown him) but to retire to the uttermost bounds of his kingdom, meantime giving his subjects leisure and liberty to review what they had done, dislike what they reviewed, revoke what they disliked; that so on second debates they might seriously undo, what