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Bacon's History of Life and Death1. Then R. C.(rashaw's] verses “To the reader, upon this book’s intent. (Hark hither,
common benefit? Surely, methinks as in some regard my want of interest in the business makes my testimony of the more validity (for who will not believe a witness giving in evidence to his own prejudice ?) so it seems to impose on me a kind of necessity of acquainting the world therewith, if happily by the promotion of others' good I may help to redeem mine own negligence. This good effect, I hope, may follow to mine own advantage upon this publication : as on the contrary I might justly be afraid of multiplying damage, and doubling punishment upon my head, for the unjust concealment, as well as for the not practising of that, which I cannot but approve most excellent and beneficial to all those ends, that a wise man and a Christian should aim at. In this regard, I hope the pious and charitable reader (and none but such I invite) will help me rather with his prayers and a fair acceptance of my hearty desires of his good, than censure or despise my want of absolute conformity to that which I exhort him unto. And thus much touching myself, and the reasons that have moved me to the publication of these ensuing Treatises.
“The middlemost of which, as it was first written in order of time, so it was in translation; and therefore I will begin with it.
“Master George Herbert of blessed memory, having at the request of a noble personage translated it into English, sent a copy thereof, not many months before his death, unto some friends of his, who a good while before had given an attempt of regulating themselves in matter of diet: which, although it was after a very imperfect manner, in regard of that exact course therein prescribed; yet was of great advantage to them, inasmuch as they were enabled, through the good preparation that they had thus made, to go immediately to the practice of that pattern, which Cornarus had set them, and so have reaped the benefit thereof, in a larger and eminenter manner than could otherwise possibly have been imagined in so short a space.
“Not long after, Lessius his book, by happy chance, or, to speak better, by gracious providence of the Author of health and all other good things, came to their hands : whereby receiving much instruction and confirmation, they requested from me the translation of it into English. Whereupon hath ensued what you shall now receive.
“It was their desire to have the translation entire ; and finding no just reason to the contrary, I have been willing to satisfy them therein. Master Herbert professeth, and so it is indeed apparent, that he was enforced to leave out something out of Cornarus : but it was not any thing appertaining to the main subject of the book, but chiefly certain extravagant excursions of the author against the reformation of religion, which in his time was newly begun. Neither his old blind zeal, nor the new and dangerous profession of Lessius,
first paragraph of which is the motto to this
reader, &c.) A couplet “To the translatour," and two pieces each of four lines, “Upon the matter of the work.” J. Jack
will (as we hope) breed any scandal or discredit to these present works of theirs, nor to the imitators of them, with any discreet and sincere Protestants, That they were both Papists, and the one of them a Jesuit, is no prejudice to the truth of what they write concerning temperance : in the prosecution whereof we ought not only to agree with them, but to seek to advance and excel them, inasmuch as the purity of our religion exacts a more perfect endeavouring after all manner of true virtue, than theirs can do. We have not therefore judged it meet, either to waive, or to disguise the condition of the authors, but rather to give notice thereof; esteeming, that as treacle is made of vipers, so from this very poisonous superstition on their parts, an excellent cordial may be extracted, for the benefit of all that truly fear God, and sincerely desire to serve Him : who cannot but make a conscience of being inferior in the practice of virtue to them over whom they are so much superior in the knowledge of the truth.
“The quality of the author being thus known, the judicious reader will not find any cause of stumbling at his commendation of some persons, or institutions, nor at his use of some kind of phrases answerable to his religion. That which was of notorious scandal, hath received correction. In those things which may receive a favourable construction, or are not of any great moment, it hath not been thought fit to make any alteration; because it could not indeed be well done without obscuring, or almost utterly dissolving the frame of the discourse.
“The names of hermits and monks are perhaps offensive to weak minds, that have only heard of the late professors thereof, and have not heard, or do not believe the virtue and true holiness of those in the primitive times. But since they are not brought in here for proof of any controversial points, but only as instances to confirm the virtue and power of temperance, for the conservation of life and health ; there is so little cause of scandal to the most scrupulous-minded that can be, as it must needs be interpreted desire of quarrel and contention in any that shall sound alarm on this ground. And for the surer binding of such itching fingers (if any such shall be) to the peace, I have thought it not amiss to make use of the decree of that great chancellor of learning, as well as of the law, the late Viscount St. Albans, as I find it registered in his Book which he entitles, The History of Life and Death.
“Which, serving not only to bear me out in this particular, but summarily ratifying the whole business, I have thought fit to prefix as a general approbation; sheltering myself thereby, as upon a warrant under the great seal of learning and ingenuity.
“And so I come to the third discourse, which is added to the other, as a banquet of junkets after a solid feast. The author thereof was an Italian of great reputation, living in the same age which Cornarus did. The change of the time, and the diversity of our fashions, hath necessarily caused some alterations and additions in the English translation, to make it more denizen
son, “To the translatour.” Peter Gunning, “To his enemy the translatour,” A. R., “To Lessius the author.” S. J.'s “Dialogue between a glutton and echo." (Gl. My belly I do deify. E. Fie. G. Who curbs his appetite's a fool. E. Ah fool! Gl. I do not like this abstinence. E. Hence. Gl. My joy’s a feast, my wish is wine. E. Swine. Gl. We Epicures are happy truly. E. You lie. &c.). Barnabas Oley, “To the translatour.” The verses " To the reader,” printed above, 64, 65 n. Then, Lessius's Dedication to Colibrant, dated Lovain, Cal. Jul. 1613. Then the “approbations” of several physicians. Then, Lessius, Cornarol, and “a discourse translated out of Italian, That a spare diet is better than a splendid and sumptuous. A paradox.”
On Carbo see above, pp. 51, 302.
Herbert's Jacula Prudentum and other works circulated among the Ferrars in manuscript (above, 302, 303, 313).
Page 52. line 2. to burn it. added from Walton: a blank
space in MS.
Page 53. n. 1. “The printers to the reader.
“The dedication of this work having been made by the author to the Divine Majesty only, how should we now
like. If it give any delight, we have as much as we desire: although there is no reason to exclude the hope of benefiting. For however it seems to play, yet in very truth it strikes home, and pierceth to the quick.
Ridentem dicere verum quid vetat? Ofttimes lighter arguments effect, what stronger and more serious cannot do: and that is taken in good part by way of mirth, which being done in earnest would by no means be brooked.
“Thus (good reader) thou hast as much as I conceive needful to be known touching myself, or to be said touching the work. As for the practitioners, they forbid any more to be spoken of them than this, that as they find all the benefits, which are promised by Cornarus and Lessius, most true and real ; so by God's mercy they find no difficulty at all in the observation of this course. They are sufficient witnesses in their own affairs, and I hold them to be faithful: and therefore making no doubt of the truth of the latter part of their report, as I can abundantly give testimony of the verity of the former, I commend both to thy belief and consideration; and so commit thee to God's grace. Dec. 7, 1633.
T. S." 1 Printed in Herbert's Remains.
presume to interest any mortal man in the patronage of it? Much less think we it meet to seek the recommendation of the Muses, for that which himself was confident to have been inspired by a diviner breath than flows from Helicon. The world therefore shall receive it in that naked simplicity with which he left it, without any addition either of support or ornament, more than is included in itself. We leave it free and unforestalled to every man's judgement, and to the benefit that he shall find by perusal. Only for the clearing of some passages, we have thought it not unfit to make the common Reader privy to some few particularities of the condition and disposition of the person.
Being nobly born, and as eminently endued with gifts of the mind, and having by industry and happy education perfected them to that great highth of excellency, whereof his fellowship of Trinity College in Cambridge, and his Oratorship in the University, together with that knowledge which the King's Court had taken of him, could make relation far above ordinary, quitting both his deserts and all the opportunities that he had for worldly preferment, he betook himself to the Sanctuary and Temple of God, choosing rather to serve at God's Altar, than to seek the honour of State employments. As for those inward enforcements to this course (for outward there was none,) which many of these ensuing verses bear witness of, they detract not from the freedom, but add to the honour of this resolution in him. As God had enabled him, so He accounted him meet not only to be called, but to be compelled to this service: Wherein his faithful discharge was such, as may make him justly a companion to the primitive Saints, and a pattern or more for the age he lived in.
To testify his independency upon all others, and to quicken his diligence in this kind, he used in his ordinary speech, when he made mention of the blessed name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, to add, My Master.
Next God, he loved that which God Himself hath magnified above all things, that is, His Word : so as he hath been
heard to make solemn protestation, that he would not part with one leaf thereof for the whole world, if it were offered him in exchange.
His obedience and conformity to the Church and the discipline thereof was singularly remarkable: Though he abounded in private devotions, yet went he every morning and evening with his family to the church; and by his example, exhortations, and encouragements drew the greater part of his parishioners to accompany him daily in the public celebration of Divine Service.
As for worldly matters, his love and esteem to them was 80 little, as no man can more ambitiously seek, than he did earnestly endeavour the resignation of an ecclesiastical dignity, which he was possessor of. But God permitted not the accomplishment of this desire, having ordained him His instrument for re-edifying of the church belonging thereunto, that had lain ruinated almost twenty years. The reparation whereof, having been uneffectually attempted by public collections, was in the end by his own and some few others' private free-will offerings successfully effected. With the remembrance whereof, as of an especial good work, when a friend went about to comfort him on his death-bed, he made answer, 'It is a good work, if it be sprinkled with the blood of Christ:' otherwise than in this respect he could find nothing to glory or comfort himself with, neither in this nor in any other thing.
And these are but a few of many that might be said, which we have chosen to premise as a glance to some parts of the ensuing book, and for an example to the reader.
We conclude all with his own motto, with which he used to conclude all things that might seem to tend any way to his own honour,
"Less than the least of God's mercies.'