MEn feare Death, as Children
feare to goe in the darke: And
as that Natural Feare in Children, is increased with Tales,
so is the other. Certainly, the Contemplation of Death, as the wages of sinne, and
Passage to another world, is Holy, and
Religious; But the Feare of it, as a Tribute
due vnto Nature, is weake. Yet in Religious Meditations, there is sometimes,
Mixture of Vanitie, and of Superstition.
You shal reade, in some of the Friars Books
of Mortification, that a man should thinke
with himselfe, what the Paine is, if he
haue but his Fingers end Pressed, or
Tortured; And thereby imagine, what the
Paines of Death are, when the whole Body, is corrupted and dissolued; when many times, Death passeth with lesse paine,
then the Torture of a Limme: For the
most vitall parts, are not the quickest of
Sense. And by him, that spake onely as a
Philosopher, and Naturall Man, it was
well said; Pompa Mortis magis terret, quàm
Mors ipsa. Groanes and Conuulsions, and
a discoloured Face, and Friends weeping,
and Blackes, and Obsequies, and the like,
shew Death Terrible. It is worthy the obseruing, that there is no passion in the
minde of man, so weake, but it Mates,
and Masters, the Feare of Death: And
therefore Death, is no such terrible Enemie, when a man hath so many Attendants, about him, that can winne the
combat of him. Reuenge triumphs ouer
Death; Loue slights it; Honour aspireth to
it; Griefe flieth to it; Feare pre-occupateth it; Nay we reade, after Otho the Emperour had slaine himselfe, Pitty ( which
is the tenderest of Affections ) prouoked
many to die, out of meere compassion to
their Soueraigne, and as the truest sort of
Followers. Nay Seneca addes Nicenesse
and Saciety; Cogita quam diù eadem feceris;
Mori velle, non tantùm Fortis, aut Miser,
sed etiàm Fastidiosus potest. A man would
die, though he were neither valiant, nor
miserable, onely vpon a wearinesse to doe
the same thing, so oft ouer and ouer. It
is no lesse worthy to obserue, how little
Alteration, in good Spirits, the Approaches of Death make; For they appeare, to
be the same Men, till the last Instant. Augustus Cæsar died in a Complement; Liuia, Coniugij nostri memor, viue & vale.
Tiberius in dissimulation; As Tacitus saith
of him; Iam Tiberium Vires, & Corpus, non
Dissimulatio, deserebant. Vespasian in a Iest;
Sitting vpon the Stoole, Vt puto Deus fio.
Galba with a Sentence; Feri, si ex re sit populi Romani; Holding forth his Necke.
Septimius Seuerus in dispatch; Adeste, si
quid mihi restat agendum. And the like.
Certainly, the Stoikes bestowed too much
cost vpon Death, and by their great
preparations, made it appeare more fearefull.
Better saith he, Qui finem Vitæ; extremum
inter Munera ponat Naturæ. It is as Naturall to die, as to be borne; And to a little
Infant, perhaps, the one, is as painfull, as
the other. He that dies in an earnest Pursuit, is like one that is wounded in hot
Bloud; who, for the time, scarce feeles
the Hurt; And therefore, a Minde fixt, and
bent vpon somewhat that is good, doth
auert the Dolors of Death: But aboue all,
beleeue it, the sweetest Canticle is, Nunc
dimittis; when a Man hath obtained worthy ends, and Expectations. Death hath
this also; That it openeth the Gate, to
good Fame, and extinguisheth Enuie.
---Extinctus amabitur idem.