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And, as he rounds the earth to murder, fure
IN SACRAM ANCHORAM PISCATORIS,
Quod Crux nequibat fixa clavique additi,
Although the cross could not Christ here detain,
I return to tell the reader, that besides these verses to his dear Mr. Herbert, and that hymn that I mentioned to be sung in the Quire of St. Paul's Church, he did also shorten and beguile many fad hours by composing other sacred ditties, and he writ an hymn on his death-bed, which bears this title:
A HYMN TO GOD MY GOD,
IN MY SICKNESS, MARCH 23, 1630.
SINCE I am coming to that holy room,
Since my physicians by their loves are grown
So, in his purple wrapt, receive me, Lord!
If these fall under the censure of a soul, whose too much mixture with earth, makes it unfit to judge of these high raptures and illuminations, let him know that many holy and devout men have thought the soul of Prudentius' to be most refined, when not many days before his
death * Aurelius Prudentius Clemens, a Christian poet of the fourth century, was a native of Spain. He spent the earlier period of his life in more active scenes, distinguishing himself as an advocate at the bar, a soldier in the camp, and lastly as a courtier in the Imperial Court. He attempted not to write verses until he was advanced in years : “ Tandem vero in senectute
repulsa mundi vanitate ad facras Scripturas fe contulit, et Carmine ac Profâ multa utriusque
Teftamenti abftrufa exposuit." (J. Trithemius.) - Gyraldus observes, that in his works there is more of religious zeal, than of the beauties of poetry, Melior omnino Christianus eft quam Poeta. In the proem to the hymns of the Cathemerinon, having described his conduct in the former part of his life, he declares his intention of celebrating God in daily hymns, and of exercising himself in discussing facred fubjects.
“ Hymnis continuet dies,
“ Conculcet facra gentium ;
death“ he charged it to present his God each morning and evening with
a new and spiritual song;” justified by the example of King David and the good King Hezekiah, who upon the renovation of his years paid his thankful vows to Almighty God in a royal hymn, which he concludes in these words, “ The Lord was ready to save, therefore I will sing my songs “ to the stringed infruments all the days of my life in the temple of my « God."
The latter part of his life may be said to be a continued study; for as he usually preached once a week, if not oftener, so after his sermon he never gave his eyes rest till he had chosen out a new text, and that night cast his sermon into a form, and his text into divisions; and the next day betook himself to consult the fathers, and so commit his meditations to his memory, which was excellent. But upon Saturday he usually gave himself and his mind a rest from the weary burthen of his week's meditations, and usually spent that day in visitation of friends or some other diversions of his thoughts; and would say, “ that he gave both his body and mind that re
freshment, that he might be enabled to do the work of the day follow“ing, not faintly, but with courage and cheerfulness.”
Nor was his age only fo industrious, but in the most unsettled days of his youth, his bed was not able to detain him beyond the hour of four in a morning; and it was no common business that drew him out of his chamber till past ten; all which time was employed in study, though he took great liberty after it. And if this seem strange, it may gain a belief by the visible fruits of his labours, fome of which remain as testimonies of what is here written, for he left the resultance of 1400 authors, most of them abridged and analysed with his own hand; he left also fix score of his sermons, all written with his own hand; also an exact and labori
. It was Dr. Hammond's method, and surely not unworthy of imitation, “ After every sermon “ to resolve upon the ensuing subject; that being done, to pursue the course of study which “ he was then in hand with, reserving the close of the week for the provision for the next “ Lord's Day; whercby not only a constant progress was made in science, but materials “ unawares were gained unto the immediate future work: For, he said, be the subjects " treated of never so distant, somewhat will infallibly fall in, conducible to the present pur“ pose.” (Fell's Life of Dr. Hammond, p. 11.)
ous treatise concerning self-murther', called “ Biathanatos,” wherein all the laws violated by that act are diligently surveyed, and judiciously cen
sured ; ;
+ We have a full account of this tractate in the two following letters.
TO THE NOBLEST KNIGHT,
“ SIR EDWARD HERBERT..
“ I make account that thys booke hath enough perform'd y wch yt undertooke, both by “argument and example. Itt fhall therefore the leffe need to bee yttselfe another example “ of ye doctrine. Itt shall not therefore kyll yttselfe; that ys, not bury yttselfe ; for if ytt should “ do so, those resons by wch that act should bee defended or excus'd, were also lost with ytt. “ Since it is content to live, ytt cannot chuse a wholsomer ayre than yo' library, where autors “ of all complexions are preserv’d. If any of them grudge thys booke a roome, and suf
pect ytt of new or davgerous doctrine, you, who know us all, can best moderate. To “ those reasons wch I know your love to mee wyll make in my faver and discharge, you may “ add thys, That though this doctrine hath not been tought nor defended by writers, yet they, « most of any sorte of men in the world, have practis'd ytt. “Yo' very true and earnest frinde, and servant and lover,
“ J. DONNE."
This address to Sir Edward IIerbert, is prefixed to the original MS. of Dr. Donne’s : BIAO ANATO2, which is now preserved in the Bodleian Library and was given to that place by Lord Herbert himself, in the year 1642, with the following inscription in capitals:
HUNC LIBRUM AB AUTHORE CUM EPISTOLA QUÆ PRÆIT ATTOSPAIN DONO SIBI DATUM DUM EQUESTRIS OLIM ESSET ORDINIS EDVARDUS HERBERT, JAM BARO DE CHERBURY IN ANGLIA, ET CASTRI INSULÆ DE KERRY IN HIBERNIA, E SUA BIBLIOTHECA IN BODLEIANAM TRANSTULIT MERITISS. IN ALMAM MATREM ACAD. OXON. PIETATISET OBSERVANTIÆ
“ TO SIR ROBERT CARRE, NOW EARL OF ANKERAM, ,
“ WITH MY BOOK BIAOANATOE, AT MY GOING INTO GERMANY.
“ I had need to do somewhat towards you above my promises ; How weak are my performances, when eve n my promises are defective ? I cannot promise, no not in mine own hopes, “ equally to your merit towards me. But besides the poems, of which you took a promise,
" I send
sured; a treatise written in his younger days, which alone might declare him then not only perfect in the Civil and Canon Law, but in
" I send you another book, to which there belongs this history. It was written by me many
years fince, and because it is upon a misinterpretable subject, I have always gone so near “ suppressing it, as that it is onely not burnt: No hand hath passed upon it to copy it, nor
many eyes to read it; onely to some particular friends in both universities then when I writ “ it did I communicate it; and I remember I had this answer, that certainly there was a false “ thread in it, but not easily found Keep it, I pray, with the same jealousie; let any " that your discretion admits to the fight of it know the date of it, and that it is a book " written by Jack Donne, and not by Dr. Donne. Reserve it for me if I live, and if I die I “ only forbid it the presse and the fire : Publish it not, but yet burn it not; and between those “ do what you will with it. Love me still thus far for your own sake, that when you with
your love from me, you will find so many unworthinesses in me, as you grow alhamed " of having had so long and so much, such a thing as
* Your poor servt. in Chr. Jer.
“ J. DONNE."
It was first published by authority in 1644, and dedicated by his son, John Donne, to Lord Philip Herbert. In this dedication he assigns the reason of his disobedience to his father's order. " It was writ long since by my father, and by him forbid both the presse and the fire; neither “had I subjected it now to the publique view, but that I could finde no certain way to defend “ it from the one, but by committing it to the other; for since the beginning of this war my “ study having been often searched, all my books (and al-most my braines, by their continuall “ allarums) fequestered for the use of the committee; two dangers appeared more eminently
to hover over this, being then a manuscript ; a danger of being utterly lost, and a danger ~ of being utterly found, and fathered by some of those wild atheists, who, as if they came “ into the world by conquest, owne all other men's wits, and are resolved to be learned in
despite of their starres, that would fairely have enclined them to a more modest and honest “ course of life.” The system advanced in this book has been accurately examined, and with great strength of argument refuted by the Rev. Charles Moore, in his “ Full Enquiry into the Subject of Suicide," vol. I. p. 83,-103, and vol. II. p. 1,-41. The learned author of that excellent work, in his letter, dated Jan. 27, 1794, informs me, that since its publication he has fcen a small tract, called “ Life's Preservative against Self-killing, &c. by John Syer, Minister of Leigh in ElTex, London, 1637," which, though published after Dr. Donne's death, yet before the Biathanatos appeared, is in effect a very full and complete answer to it, written in its own method of fcholaftic divifions and sub-divisions, ad infinitum.
The following extract, containing a short criticism on this work of Donne, will not be unacceptable to the learned reader. “ Donne, docteur Angolis et sçavant Theologien de ce