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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 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, solemnizing Nativities and Deaths with equall lustre, nor omitting Ceremonies of bravery, in the infamy of his nature.
9 min read
The particulars of future beings must needs be dark unto ancient Theories, which Christian Philosophy yet determines but in a Cloud of opinions. A dialogue between two Infants in the womb concerning the state of this world, might handsomely illustrate our ignorance of the next, whereof methinks we yet discourse in Platoes denne, and are but Embryon Philosophers.
9 min read
He that looks for Urnes and old sepulchrall reliques, must not seek them in the ruines of Temples; where no Religion anciently placed them. These were found in a Field, according to ancient custome, in noble or private buriall; the old practise of the Canaanites, the Family of Abraham, and the burying place of Josua, in the borders of his possessions; and also agreeable unto Roman practice to bury by high-wayes, whereby their Monuments were under eye: Memorials of themselves, and memento’s of mortality into living passengers; whom the Epitaphs of great ones were fain to beg to stay and look upon them. A language though sometimes used, not so proper in Church-Inscriptions. The sensible Rhetorick of the dead, to exemplarity of good life, first admitted the bones of pious men, and Martyrs within Church-wals; which in succeeding ages crept into promiscuous practise. While Constantine was peculiarly favoured to be admitted unto the Church Porch; and the first thus buried in England was in the dayes of Cuthred.
13 min read
For after Tertullian, in the dayes of Minucius it was obviously objected upon Christians, that they condemned the practice of burning. And we finde a passage in Sidonius, which asserteth that practise in France unto a lower account. And perhaps not fully disused till Christianity fully established, which gave the finall extinction of these sepulchrall Bonefires.
9 min read
In the deep discovery of the Subterranean world, a shallow part would satisfie some enquirers; who, if two or three yards were open about the surface, would not care to rake the bowels of Potosi, and regions towards the Centre. Nature hath furnished one part of the Earth, and man another. The treasures of time lie high, in Urnes, Coynes, and Monuments, scarce below the roots of some vegetables. Time hath endlesse rarities, and shows of all varieties; which reveals old things in heaven, makes new discoveries in earth, and even earth it self a discovery.
7 min read
Guide not the hand of god, nor order the finger of the almighty unto thy will and pleasure; but sit quiet in the soft showers of providence, and favourable distributions in this world, either to thyself or others. And since not only judgments have their errands, but mercies their commissions; snatch not at every favour, nor think thyself passed by if they fall upon thy neighbour. Rake not up envious displacences at things successful unto others, which the wise disposer of all thinks not fit for thyself. Reconcile the events of things unto both beings, that is, of this world and the next.
27 min read
Let thy studies be free as thy thoughts and contemplations: but fly not only upon the wings of imagination; join sense unto reason, and experiment unto speculation, and so give life unto embryon truths, and verities yet in their chaos. There is nothing more acceptable unto the ingenious world, than this noble eluctation of truth; wherein, against the tenacity of prejudice and prescription, this century now prevaileth.
14 min read
Sit not down in the popular forms and common level of virtues. Offer not only peace-offerings but holocausts unto God: where all is due make no reserve, and cut not a cummin-seed with the Almighty: to serve Him singly to serve ourselves, were too partial a piece of piety; not like to place us in the illustrious mansions of glory.
20 min read
I cannot fall out or condemn a man for an error, or conceive why a difference in opinion should divide an affection; for Controversies, Disputes, and Argumentations, both in Philosophy and in Divinity, if they meet with discreet and peaceable natures, do not infringe the Laws of Charity. In all disputes, so much as there is of passion, so much there is of nothing to the purpose; for then Reason, like a bad Hound, spends upon a false scent and forsakes the question first started. And this is one reason why Controversies are never determined; for, though they are amply proposed, they are scarce at all handled, they do so swell with unnecessary Digressions, and the Parenthesis on the party is often as large as the main discourse upon the subject.
31 min read
We are only that amphibious piece between a corporal and spiritual Essence, that middle form that links those two together, and makes good the Method of GOD and Nature, that jumps not from extremes, but unites the incompatible distances by some middle and participating natures. That we are the breath and similitude of GOD, it is indisputable, and upon the record of Holy Scripture; but to call ourselves a Microcosm, or little World, I thought it only a pleasant trope of rhetoric, till my near judgement and second thoughts told me there was a real truth therein.
42 min read
As Reason is a Rebel unto Faith, so Passion unto Reason: as the propositions of Faith seem absurd unto Reason, so the Theorems of Reason unto Passion, and both unto Faith. Yet a moderate and peaceable discretion may so state and order the matter, that they may be all Kings, and yet make but one Monarchy, every one exercising his Sovereignty and Prerogative in a due time and place, according to the restraint and limit of circumstance.
35 min read