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been opposing, I know to be the popular belief of the day. But it is contrary to the course of God's providence, that error should be permanent. At the first springing up the tare can hardly be known from the wheat. But before the harvest, it has taken its distinguishing form and proportions, and then comes the reaper and it is separated for the fire. So it is with the word of God. It must prosper in the thing whereunto he sent it. It cannot return unto him void. Error and delusion may live with it undetected for a while. But for these there remaineth a judgment, and let not him who seeth them prosper, despair. 'Every strong delusion, every mere device of the human understanding or of the human passions, shall at one time or another be utterly destroyed from the presence of the Lord, and truth and goodness be all in all. For the spirit of life from Almighty God shall enter into them, and they shall stand upon their feet.'


[The following paragraphs are taken from the last chapter of Sir Thomas Browne's curious tract, intitled, 'Hydriotaphia, UrneBuriall, or a Discourse of the Sepulchrall Urnes, >$,<:.' written soon after some ancient Roman urns were dug up in Norfolk in 1658. The tract examines the substances these urns contained, gives an account of the funeral rites of the ancients and their various treatment of the dead, traces many of the burial ceremonies of Christians back to pagan times, and closes with the following reflections.]

Now since these dead bones have already outlasted the living ones of Methuselah, and in a yard under ground and thin walls of clay, outworn all the strong and spacious buildings above it, and quietly rested under the drums and tramplings of three conquests; what prince can promise such diuturnity unto his relics, or might not gladly say, ■

Sic ego componi versus in ossa velim.—Tibull.

Time, which antiquates antiquities, and hath an art to make dust of all things, hath yet spared these minor monuments. In vain we hope to be known by open and visible conservatories,

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when to be unknown was the means of their continuation, and obscurity their protection. If they died by violent hands, and were thrust into their urns, these bones become considerable, and some old philosophers would honor them, whose souls they conceived most pure, which were thus snatched from their bodies, and to retain a stronger propension unto them; whereas they weariedly left a languishing corpse, and with faint desires of reunion. If they fell by long and aged decay, yet wrapt up in the bundle of time, they fell into indistinction, and make but one blot with infants. If we begin to die when we live, and long life be but a prolongation of death, our life is a sad composition; we live with death, and die not in a moment. * * *

If the nearness of our last necessity, brought a nearer conformity unto it, there were a happiness in hoary hairs, and no calamity in half senses. But the long habit of living indisposeth us for dying; when avarice makes us the sport of death; when David grew politickly cruel; and Solomon could hardly be said to be the wisest of men. But many are too early old, and before the date of age. Adversity stretcheth our days. * * But the most tedious being is that which can unwish itself, content to be nothing, or never to have been, which was beyond the malcontent of Job, who cursed, not the day of his life, but his nativity; content to have so far been, as to have a title to future being; although he had lived here but in a hidden state of life, and as it were an abortion.

* * * What time the persons of these ossuaries entered the famous nations of the dead, and slept with princes and counsellors, might admit a wide solution. But who were the proprietaries of these bones, or. what bodies these ashes made up, were a question above antiquarism, not to be resolved by man. Had they made as good provision for their names, as they have done for their relics, they had not so grossly erred in the art of perpetuation. But to subsist in hones, and be but pyramidally extant, is a fallacy in duration. Vain ashes, which, in the oblivion of names, persons, times, and sexes, have bound unto themselves a fruitless continuation, and only arise unto late posterity, as emblems of mortal vanities, antidotes against pride, vainglory, and madding vices! Pagan vainglories, which thought the world might last forever, had encouragement for ambition, and finding no Atropos unto the immortality of their names, were never damped with the necessity of oblivion. Even old ambitions had the advantage of ours, in the attempts of their vainglories, who, acting early and before the probable meridian of time, have by this time found great accomplishment of their designs, whereby the ancient heroes have already outlasted their monuments, and mechanical preservations. But in this latter scene of time, we cannot expect such mummies unto our memories, when ambition may fear the prophecy of Elias,* and Charles the Fifth can never hope to live within two Methuselahs of Hector, f

And therefore restless inquietude for the diuturnity of our memories; unto present considerations, seems a vanity almost out of date, and superannuated piece of folly. We cannot hope to live so long in our names, as some have done in their

{ersons. One face of Janus holds no proportion to the other, t is too late to be ambitious. The great mutations of the world are acted, or time may be too short for our designs. To extend our memories by monuments, whose death we daily pray for, and whose duration we cannot hope, without injury to our expectations, in the advent of the last day, were a contradiction to our beliefs. We, whose generations are ordained in this setting part of lime, are providentially taken off from such imaginations; and being necessitated to eye the remaining particles of futurity, are naturally constituted unto thoughts of the next world, and cannot excusably decline the consideration of that duration, which maketh pyramids pillars of snow, and all that is past a moment.

Circles and right lines limit and close all bodies, and the mortal rightlined circle]; must conclude and shut up all. There is no antidote against the opium of time, which temporally considereth all things. Our fathers find their graves in our short memories, and sadly tell us how we may be buried in our survivors. Gravestones tell truth scarce forty years.§ Generations pass while some trees stand, and old families last not three oaks. To be read by bare inscriptions like many in Gruter;|[ to hope for eternity by enigmatical epithets, or first letters of our names; to be studied by antiquaries, who we

* That the world may last but six thousand years.

t Hector's fame lasting above two lives of Methuselah, before that famous Prince [Charles] was extant, t & the character of death.

§ Old ones being taken up, and other bodies laid under them.
|| Gruteri Inscriptions Antiqus.
vol. III.—No. v. 50

were, and have new names given us like many of the mummies, are cold consolations unto the students of perpetuity, even by everlasting languages.

To be content that times to come should only know there was such a man, not caring whether they knew more of him, was a frigid ambition in Cardan.* Who cares to subsist like Hippocrates' patients, or Achilles' horses in Homer, under naked nominations, without deserts and noble acts, which are the balsam of our memories, the Entelechia and soul of our subsistences? To be nameless in worthy deeds exceeds an infamous history. The Canaanitish woman lives more happily without a name, than Herodias with one. And who had not rather have been the good thief, than Pilate?

But the iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppy, and deals with the memory of men without distinction to merit of perpetuity. Who can but pity the founder of the pyramids? Herostratus lives that burnt the temple of Diana; he is almost lost that built it. Time that spared the epitaph of Adrian's horse, confounded that of himself. In vain we compute our felicities by the advantage of our good names, since bad have equal durations; and Thersites is like to live as long as Agamemnon, without the favor of the everlasting register. Who knows whether the best of men be known? or whether there be not more remarkable persons forgot, than any that stand remembered in the known account of time? The first man had been as unknown as the last, and Methuselah's long life had been his only chronicle.

Oblivion is not to be hired. The greater part must be content to be as though they had not been; to be found in the register of God, not in the record of man. Twentyseven names make up the first story, and the recorded names ever since contain not one living century. The number of the dead long exceedeth all that shall live. The night of time far surpasseth the day, and who knows when was the equinox? Every hour adds unto that current arithmetic, which scarce stands one moment. And since death must be the Lucina of life, and even pagans could doubt whether thus to live, were to die; since our longest sun sets at right descensions, and makes but winter arches, and therefore it cannot be long before we lie down

* Cuperem notum esse quod aim, non opto ut sciatur qualis aim. Card' in vita propria.

in darkness, and have our light in ashes; since the brother of death daily haunts us with dying mementoes, and time that grows old itself, bids us hope no long duration; diuturnity is a dream and folly of expectation.

Darkness and light divide the course of time, and oblivion shares with memory, a great part even of our living beings. We slightly remember our felicities, and the smartest strokes of affliction leave but short smart upon us. Sense endureth no extremities, and sorrows destroy us, or themselves. To weep into stones are fables. Afflictions induce calosities, miseries are slippery, or fall like snow upon us, which notwithstanding is no stupidity. To be ignorant of evils to come, and forgetful of evils past, is merciful provision in nature, whereby we digest the mixture of our few and evil days, and our delivered senses not relapsing into cutting remembrances, our sorrows are not kept raw by the edge of repetitions.

A great part of antiquity contented their hopes of subsistency with a transmigration of their souls; a good way to continue their memories, which having the advantage of plural successions, they could not but act something remarkable in such variety of beings, and enjoining the fame of their passed selves, make accumulation of glory unto their last durations. Others, rather than be lost in the uncomfortable night of nothing, were content to recede into the common being, and make one particle of the public soul of all things, which was no more than to return into their unknown and divine original again. ./Egyptian ingenuity was more unsatisfied, contriving their bodies in sweet consistences, to attend the return of their souls. But all was vanity, feeding the wind, and folly. The Egyptian mummies, which Cambyses or time hath spared, avarice now consumeth. Mummy is become merchandise, Mizraim cures wounds, and Pharaoh is sold for balsams.

In vain do individuals hope for immortality, or any patent from oblivion, in preservations below the moon. Men have been deceived even, in their flatteries, above the sun, and studied conceits to perpetuate their names in heaven. The various cosmography of that part hath already varied the names of contrived constellations; Nimrod is lost in Orion, and Osyris in the Dogstar. While we look for incorruption in the heavens, we find they are but like the earth; durable in their main bodies, alterable in their parts; whereof besides comets and new stars, perspectives begin to tell tales; and the spots

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