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upon an anchor, like those which painters draw, when they would present us with the picture of Christ crucified on the Cross; his varying no otherwise than to affix him, not to a cross, but to an anchor (the emblem of hope); this he caused to be drawn in little, and then many of those figures, thus drawn, to be engraven very small in Helitropian stones, and set in gold; and of these he sent to many of his dearest friends, to be used as seals, or rings, and kept as memorials of him, and of his affection to them.
His dear friends and benefactors, Sir Henry Goodier, and Sir Robert Drewry, could not be of that number; nor could the Lady Magdalen Herbert, the mother of George Herbert, for they had put off mortality, and taken possession of the grave before him: but Sir Henry Wotton, and Dr. Hall, the then late deceased Bishop of Norwich, were; and so were Dr. Duppa, Bishop of Salisbury, and Dr. Henry King, Bishop of Chichester (lately deceased); men, in whom there was such a commixture of general learning, of natural eloquence, and Christian humility, that they deserve a commemoration by a pen equal to their own, which none have exceeded.
And in this enumeration of his friends, though many must be omitted, yet that man of primitive piety, Mr. George Herbert, may not: I mean that George Herbert, who was the author of - The Temple, or Sacred Poems and Ejaculations:" a book'in which, by declaring his own spiritual conflicts, he hath comforted and raised many a dejected and discomposed soul, and charmed them into sweet and quiet thoughts; a book, by the frequent reading whereof, and the assistance of that Spirit that seemed to inspire the author, the reader may attain habits of peace and piety, and all the gifts of the Holy Ghost and Heaven: and may, by
still reading, still keep those sacred fires burning upon the altar of so pure a heart, as shall free it from the anxieties of this world, and keep it fixed upon things that are above. Betwixt this George Herbert and Dr. Donne there was a long and dear friendship, made up by such a sympathy of inclinations, that they coveted and joyed to be in each other's company; and this happy friendship was still maintained by many sacred endearments : of which that which followeth may be some testimony.
TO MR. GEORGE HERBERT;
SENT HIM WITH ONE OF MY SEALS OF THE ANCHOR AND
A sheaf of snakes used heretofore to be my seal, which is the crest
of our poor family.
Qui prius assuetus serpentum falce tabellas
Signare, hæc nostræ symbola parva domus,
Adopted in God's family, and so
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 sad hours by composing other sacred ditties; and he writ an hymn on his death-bed, which bears this title:
AN HYMN TO GOD MY GOD.
IN MY SICKNESS, MARCH 23, 1630.
Since I am coming to that holy room,
So, in this 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 “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 instruments all the days of
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,
excellent. But upon Saturday he usually gave himself and his mind a rest from the weary burden 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 refreshment, that he might be enabled to do the work of the day following, not faintly, but with
courage and cheerfulness. ” Nor was his age only so 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; some 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 six score of his sermons, all written with his own hand; also an exact and laborious treatise concerning self-murder, called Biothanatos; wherein all the laws violated by that act are diligently surveyed, and judiciously censured: a treatise written in his younger days, which alone might declare him then not only perfect in the civil and canon law, but in many other such studies and arguments, as enter not into the consideration of many that labour to be thought great clerks, and pretend to know all things.
Nor were these only found in his study, but all businesses that passed of any public consequence, either in this or any of our neighbouring nations, he abbreviated either in Latin, or in the language of that nation, and kept them by him for useful memorials. So he did the copies of divers letters and cases of conscience that had concerned his friends, with his observations and solutions of them: and divers other businesses of importance, all particularly and methodically digested by himself.
He did prepare to leave the world before life left him; making his will when no faculty of his soul was damped or made defective by pain or sickness, or he surprised by a sudden apprehension of death; but it was made with mature deliberation, expressing himself an impartial father, by making his children's portions equal; and a lover of his friends, whom he remembered with legacies fitly and discreetly chosen and bequeathed. I cannot forbear a nomination of some of them; for methinks they be persons that seem to challenge a recordation in this place; as namely, to his brother-in-law, Sir Thomas