Tread softly and circumspectly in this funambulatory Track and narrow Path of Goodness.
Consider whereabout thou art in Cebes' table.
Think not that you are sailing from Lima to Manillia, when you may fasten up the Rudder, and sleep before the Wind.
Rest not in an Ovation but a Triumph over thy Passions.
Chain up the unruly Legion of thy breast. Lead thine own captivity captive, and be Cęsar within thyself.
Though a Cup of cold water from some hand may not be without it's reward, yet stick not thou for Wine and Oyl for the Wounds of the Distressed.
For the Justice of Death looks equally upon the dead, and Charon expects no more from Alexander than from Irus.
Charity becomes pious usury . . . what we adventure in a Cockboat may return in a Carrack unto us. He who thus casts his bread upon the Water shall surely find it again; for though it falleth to the bottom, it sinks but like the Ax of the Prophet, to arise again unto him.
Covetousness . . . makes their own death sweet to others, bitter unto themselves; brings formal sadness, scenical mourning, and no wet eyes at the grave.
If Avarice be thy Vice . . . to famish in Plenty, and live poorly to dye Rich, were a multiplying improvement in Madness, and use upon use in Folly.
Let not the Ocean wash away thy tincture.
Make not the consequence of Virtue the ends thereof.
Think not that Morality is Ambulatory; that Vices in one age are not Vices in another.
This [Envy] surely is a lyon not to be strangled but by Hercules himself, or the highest stress of our minds.
Be content to be envy'd, but envy not.
Think not thy own shadow longer than that of others, nor delight to take the Altitude of thyself.
Write thy wrongs in ashes.
With these sure Graces, while busy Tongues are crying out for a drop of cold Water, mutes may be in happiness, and sing the Trisagion in Heaven.
Imagination is apt to rove, and conjecture to keep no bounds. Some have run out so far, as to fancy the Stars might be but the light of the Crystalline Heaven shot through perforation on the bodies of the Orbs. Others more Ingeniously doubt whether there hath not been a vast tract of Land in the Atlantick ocean, which Earthquakes and violent causes have long ago devoured.
Perversity of Will, immoral and sinfull enormities walk with Adraste and Nemesis at their Backs.
Think not mankind liveth but for a few , and that the rest are born but to serve those Ambitions, which make but flies of men and wildernesses of whole Nations.
Though the Quickness of thine Ear were able to reach the noise of the Moon, which some think it maketh in it's rapid revolution.
Make not thy Head a Grave, but a Repository of God's mercies.
Our corrupted hearts are the Factories of the Devil, which may be at work without his presence.
Let thy Diaries stand thick with dutiful Mementos and Asterisks of acknowledgment.
Look beyond the World, and before the Æra of Adam.
To hug ourselves in our apparitions.
Fall not into self Adulation, and become not thine own Parasite. . . . There is no Damocles like unto self opinion, nor any Siren to our own fawning Conceptions.
Comply with some humors, bear with others, but serve none.
And Fools, which are Antipodes to the Wise, conceive themselves to be but their Perici, and in the same parallel with them.
To well manage . . . the wild horses of Plato .
Study thou the Dominion of thyself.
The Automatous part of mankind, rather lived than living.
The Hand of Providence writes often by Abbreviatures, Hieroglyphics or short Characters, which, like the Laconism on the Wall, are not to be made out but by a Hint or Key from that Spirit which indicted them.
Since 'tis easier to foretell an Eclipse than a foul Day at some distance.
The novellizing Spirit of Man.
Rough Diamonds are sometimes mistaken for Pebbles.
Adam hath not only fallen from his Creator, but we ourselves from Adam.
So that 'tis well, if a perfect Man can be made out of many Men, and, to the perfect Eye of God, even out of Mankind.
While we look with fear or hatred upon the Teeth of the Viper, we may behold his Eye with love. . . . Poysons afford Antipoysons: nothing is totally, or altogether uselessly bad.
We consider not sufficiently the good of Evils.
Swim in the Waters of Sin but as in the Asphaltick Lake, though smeared and defiled, not to sink to the bottom.
It taketh some time and pains to undo our selves.
Even Twins of different sexes have not only distinct coverings in the Womb, but differing qualities and Virtuous Habits after.
Be not Monstrous in Iniquity, nor Hermaphroditically Vitious.
Be not an Alien in thine own Nation.
Add one Ray unto the common Lustre . . . and prove not a Cloud but an Asterisk in thy region.
Since thou hast an Alarum in thy Breast, which tells thee thou hast a Living Spirit in thee above two thousand times in an hour.
Festination may prove Precipitation; Deliberating delay may be wise cunctation, and slowness no sloathfulness.
He who discommendeth others obliquely commendeth himself.
Virtuous Actions have their own trumpets.
Bright Thoughts, clear Deeds, Constancy, Fidelity, Bounty, and generous Honesty are the gems of noble minds; wherein, to derogate from none, the true Heroick English Gentleman hath no Peer.
Punish not thyself with Pleasure.
In vain we study Delight.
Temperate Minds, not pressing their pleasures until the sting appears.
Though I have no great opinion of Machiavel's learning ..
The Compage of all Physical Truths is not so closely jointed, but opposition may find intrusion.
A Man may come unto the Pericardium but not the Heart of Truth.
To undervalue a solid Judgment, because he knows not the genealogy of Hector.
States are not governed by Ergotisms.
Join Sense unto Reason, and Experiment unto Speculation.
What Libraries of new Volumes after times will behold . . . is but a cold thought unto those, who cannot hope to behold this Exantlation of Truth, or that obscured Virgin half out of the Pit.
The Ancients, who knew so little of what is now well known.
Where such brands smoak, the Soul cannot be White.
Vice may be had at all prices . . . a Man may be cheaply vitious.
'Twere but a civil piece of complacency to suffer them to sleep who would not wake, . . . nor by dissent or opposition to stagger their contentments.
Since the Brow speaks often True, since Eyes and Noses have tongues.
There are therefore Provincial Faces, National Lips and Noses.
Affection should not be too sharp-Eyed, and Love is not to be made by magnifying Glasses. If things were seen as they truly are, the beauty of bodies would be much abridged.
For Fortune lays the Plot of our Adversities in the foundation of our Felicities.
For to become acutely miserable we are to be first happy . . . Bajazet in the grate.
So that to continue us in goodness there must be iterated returns of misery, and a circulation in afflictions is necessary. . . . since plagues are insignificant, except we be personally plagued.
When Death it self shall dye, . . . when the damned shall mourn at the funeral of Death, when Life not Death shall be the wages of sin . . . and destruction shall be courted.
As bad Men as Princes [Roman Emperors] . . . of good natural parts, rather than of good natures; which did but arm their bad inclinations, and make them wittily wicked.
When Men are already dead by metaphor, and pass from one sleep to another.
Death will find some ways to unty or cut the most Gordian Knots of life.
Bound up with immortality can never get out of themselves.
For the unknown part of time shortens the estimation, if not the compute of it.
Impieties . . . which required the whole Element of Water to wash them away, and overwhelmed their memories with themselves; and so shut up the first Windows of Time, leaving no Histories of those longevous generations, when Men might have been properly Historians, when Adam might have read long lectures to Methuselah, and Methuselah unto Noah.
The World was early bad.
Trismegistus his Circle, whose center is everywhere, and circumference nowhere, was no Hyperbole.
God, who doth not Admire himself.
To Err is but to be Blind or Dim-sighted.
To be no better than Men in all Ages, and so promiscuously to swim down the turbid stream.
Where such plants grow and prosper, look for no Champain or Region void of Thorns, but productions like the tree of Goa [one Tree becomes a wood], and Forrests of abomination .
To settle on fundamental Virtues and bid early defiance unto Mother-Vices, which carry in their Bowels the seminals of other Iniquities, makes a short cut in Goodness.
Since instructions are many, hold close unto those, whereon the rest depend. So may we have all in a few, . . . the Sacred Writ in stenography, and the Scripture in a Nut-Shell.
Grain not thy vicious stains, nor deepen those swart Tinctures.
If we rightly understood the Names whereby God calleth the Stars, if we knew his name for the Dog-Star, or by what appellation Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn obey his Will.
Burden not the back of Aries, Leo, or Taurus, with thy faults . . . Calculate thyself within, seek not thyself in the Moon, but in thine own Orb or Microcosmical Circumference.
Anticipate the Virtues of Age . . . so mayst thou be coetaneous unto thy Elders, and a Father unto thy contemporaries.
Do as a Child but when thou art a child, and ride not a Reed at twenty.
Loose not the advantage of Solitude, and the Society of thyself . . .He who is thus prepared, the Day is not uneasy nor the Night black unto him. Darkness may bind his eyes, not his Imagination. . . . may speculate the Universe, and enjoy the whole World in the Hermitage of himself. . . . thus they [hermits] Astronomiz'd in Caves.
Retire into Company, to be out of the crowd of themselves.
Look not for Roses in Attalus his garden [which contained only venomous Plants].
To thoughtful Observators, the whole World is a Phylactery.
For the Pearl we seek for is not to be found in the Indian but in the Empyrean ocean.
He Swims in Oil, and can hardly avoid sinking, who has such light Foundations to support him.
What we magnify is Magnificent, but like to the Colossus, noble without, stuft with rubbidge and coarse Metal within. Even the Sun, whose glorious outside we behold, may have dark and smoky Entrails.
Place not the expectations of great Happiness here below, or think to find Heaven on Earth; wherein we must be content with Embryon felicities, and fruitions of doubtful Faces. For the Circle of our felicities makes but short Arches. In every clime we are in a periscian state, and with our Light our Shadow and Darkness walk about with us.
Look not for Whales in the Euxine Sea or expect great matters when they are not to be found.
To forgive our Enemies is a charming way of Revenge, and a short Cęsarian Conquest, overcoming without a blow.
Patient Meekness takes injuries like Pills, not chewing but swallowing them down.
The greatest part of Time being already wrapt up in things behind us; it's now somewhat late to bait after things before us; for futurity still shortens, and time present sucks in time to come.
Since thou art a composition of Man and Beast . . . Un-Man not therefore thy self by a Beastial transformation. . . . Let the Divine part be upward, and the Region of beast below. Otherwise, 'tis but to live invertedly, and with thy Head unto the Heels of thy Antipodes.
Let thy Thoughts be of things which have not entred into the Hearts of Beasts: Think of things long past, and long to come: Acquaint thyself with the choragium of the Stars, and consider the vast expansion beyond them. Let Intellectual Tubes give thee a glance of things, which visive Organs reach not. Have a glimpse of incomprehensibles, and Thoughts of things, which Thoughts but tenderly touch. Lodge immaterials in thy Head: ascend unto invisibles: fill thy Spirit with Spirituals.
Some have been so divine, as to approach the Apogeum of their Natures and to be in the Confinium of Spirits.
Overdo not the necessities of evil.
When perception will be new, and we may hope to behold invisibles.
God . . . as he saw before the Sun may still also see without it.
Conscience only, that can see without Light, sits in the Areopagy and dark Tribunal of our Hearts, surveying our Thoughts, and condemning their obliquities.
We may hope to behold invisibles.
Behold thyself by inward Opticks and the Crystalline of thy Soul. .
When all looks fair about, . . . forget not the Wheel of things: Think of sullen vicissitudes .. Be armed against such obscurities rather by submission than by fore-knowledge. The Knowledge of future evils mortifies present felicities, and there is more content in the uncertainty or ignorance of them . . . the Wisdom of Astrologers . . . leave us hopes of evasion.
Where thy Secrets may lastingly ly, like Olybius his Urn, alive and light, but close and invisible. [Note: Which after many hundred of years was found burning under ground, and went out as soon as the air came to it.].
Worldly Spirits . . . make cobwebs of Obligations.
To offer at iniquities, which have so little foundations in thee, were to be vitious up hill . . . Persons vitiously inclined want no Wheels to make them actively vitious; as having the Elater and Spring of their own Natures to facilitate their Iniquities.
Men are glad to pull off their Vizards.
Though the World be histrionical, and most Men live Ironically, yet be thou what thou singly art, and personate only thy self. Swim smoothly in the stream of thy Nature, and live but one Man.
Look beyond Antoninus.
In seventy or eighty years, a Man may have a deep Gust of the World, Know . . . what 'tis to have been a Man. Such a latitude of years may hold a considerable corner in the Map of Time . . . may clearly see . . . what living will be in all ages to come.
He will experimentally find the Emptiness of all things.
Nor let complexity or contagion betray thee unto the exorbitancy of Delight . . . Tranquillity is better than jollity
Perform the sober Acts and serious purposes of Man; which to omit were. . . to play away an uniterable life, and to have lived in vain. . . .frustrate not the opportunity of once living.
Since the Stars of Heaven do differ so much in glory . . . Read thou the Earth in Heaven . . . expect not equality in lustre, dignity or perfection, in Regions or Persons below; where numerous numbers must be content to stand like Lacteous or Nebulous Stars, little taken notice of, or dim in their generations.
For the Colonies of Heaven must be drawn from Earth.
That state of being which placeth us in the form of Men.
If we consider the incessant and cutting provocations from the Earth.
But good Men's wishes extend beyond their lives, for the happiness of times to come, and never to be known unto them. . . . they charitably pray for those who are not yet alive.
Since a greater part of time is spun than is to come.
The created World is but a small parenthesis in Eternity . . . He who hath thus considered the World . . . and how there is nothing new under the Sun may conceive himself in some manner to have lived from the beginning and to be as old as the world.
Approximate thy latter times by present apprehension of them: be like a neighbour unto the Grave, and think there is but little to come. . . . the World is in a manner over, and the Earth in ashes.
That great Antiquity America lay buried for thousands of years.
It is the heaviest stone that melancholy can throw at a man, to tell him that he is at an end of his nature.
Time which antiquates Antiquities.
The long habit of living indisposeth us for dying . . . . But many are too early old.
What song the Syrens sang, or what name Achilles assumed when he hid himself among the women . . . are not beyond conjecture.
'Tis too late to be ambitious. The great mutations of the world are acted.
That duration which makes Pyramids pillars of snow.
Our Fathers finde their graves in our short memories. . . . Grave-stones tell truth scarce fourty years.
Oblivion is not to be hired. The greater part must be content to be as though they had not been.
The night of time far surpasseth the day.
The uncomfortable night of nothing.
Nimrod is lost in Orion and Osyris in the Dogge-Starre.
Man is a Noble Animal, splendid in ashes, and pompous in the grave.
Life is a pure flame and we live by an invisible Sun within us. A small fire sufficeth for life.
Pyramids, arches, obelisks were but the irregularities of vainglory
[From Letter to a Friend]
Become not Shrubs but Cedars in their generation.
The sick mans Sacrifice is but a lame Oblation.
The old, drawn backward with great strugling and reluctancy unto the Grave.
[From Religio Medici]
I could never hear the Ave Maria without an elevation . . . At a solemne Procession I have wept abundantly.
As for those wingy mysteries in Divinity and ayery subtilties in Religion, which have unhindg'd the braines of better heads, they never stretched the Pia Mater of mine.
I have often admired the mysticall way of Pythagoras, and the secret Magicke of numbers.
The world was made to be inhabited by beasts, but studied and contemplated by men.
There is all Africa and her prodigies in us.
The successe of that pety Province of Holland.
Thus the Devill played at Chesse with mee.
The late detection of the Maid of Germany [That lived without meat upon the smelle of a Rose]
I have ever beleeved, and doe now know, that there are Witches.
Man that great and true Amphibium.
The Flower (or as we may say) the best part of nothing . . . we are only that amphibious piece between a corporall and spiritual essence.
My selfe as wholesome a morsel for the wormes as any.
This conceit and counterfeit subsisting in our progenies seemes to mee a meere fallacy . . . at my death I meane to take a totall adieu of the world, not caring for a Monument, History, or Epitaph.
Felix esse mori
Wish rather to goe off at one blow, then to be sawed in peeces by the grating torture of a disease.
Some beleeve there went not a minute to the world's creation.
In briefe, we are all monsters, that is, a composition of man and beast.
Though my grave be England, my dying place was Paradise.
I am no Plant that will not prosper out of a Garden. All places, all ayres, make unto me one Countrey; I am in England everywhere.
That great enemy of reason, vertue, and religion, the multitude, that numerous piece of monstrosity, which taken asunder seeme men . . . but confused together, make but one great beast.
A sinister and politick kind of charity.
One thought that dejects me, that my acquired parts must perish with my selfe, nor can bee Legacyed among my honoured Friends.
I could lose an arme without a teare . . . yet can I weepe most sincerely at a Play.
I never heare the Toll of a passing Bell . . . without my prayers and best wishes for the departing spirit.
There are wonders in true affection . . . wherein two so become one . . . united soules . . . desire each to be truely the other.
There is another man within mee that's angry with mee.
The wisest heads prove, at last, almost all Skepticks.
I could be content that we might procreate like trees, without conjunction, or that there were any way to perpetuate the world without this triviall and vulgar way of coition. It is the foolishest act a wise man commits in all his life . . . what an odde and unworthy piece of folly hee hath committed
Death is the cure of all Diseases.
Poysons contain within themselves their own Antidote.
Nunquam minus solus quam cum solus
Every man is a Microcosme and carries the whole world about him;
Lord deliver me from my selfe
For the world, I count it not an Inne, but an Hospitall, and a place, not to live, but to die in.
I have not Peru in my desires.
A man may bee buried alive and behold his grave in his own issue.