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Christians, I believe the most acceptable sacrifice we can send up to Heaven is Prayer and Praise, and that Sermons are not so essential as either of them to the true practice of devotion. The rest of the holy sabbath, I sequester my body and my mind as much as I can from worldly affairs.
“Upon Monday morn I have a particular prayer of thanks; and every day I knock thrice at Heaven's gate, besides prayers at meals, and other occasional ejaculations, as upon the putting on of a clean shirt, washing my hands, and lighting the candles. Upon Wednesday night I fast and perform some extraordinary acts of devotion, as also upon Friday night, and on Saturday morn when, as soon as my senses are unlocked, I am up. And in the summer time I am often up abroad, in some private field, there to attend the rising of the sun ; and as I pray thrice a day, so I fast thrice a week. Before I go to bed I make a scrutiny of what peccant humours have reigned in me that day, and strike a tally in Heaven's Exchequer for my quietus est, ere I close my eyes, and so leave no burden on my conscience. I use not to rush madly into prayer. Difference in opinion may work a disaffection in me, not a detestation. I rather pity than hate a Turk or an Infidel, for they are of the same metal, and bear the same stamp as I do, though the inscriptions differ. If I hate any, it is those schismatics that puzzle the sweet peace of our Church. I thank God that I have this fruit of my foreign travels, that I can pray unto him every day in the week in a several language, and upon
Sunday in seven, which in orisons of
punctually perform in my private Pomeridian devotions :
Et sic æternam contendo attingere vitam."
Few men will quarrel with such a method of doing God service, which is surely a peaceful and Christian
Serious and calm writing like this strongly reminds us of the best passages in Sir Thomas Browne's “ Religio Medici.”
The letter just quoted is dated July, 1635. It resembles Sir Thomas Browne's style so much that one may doubt whether Howell had not seen the MS. of the
Religio Medici,” which in that year was written, or, it may be, was written before and circulated in manuscript. It was not given to the world until 1642. Dr. Johnson says, “ About the year 1634, he (Sir Thomas Browne) is supposed to have returned to London, and the next year to have written his celebrated treatise called “Religio Medici,' the religion of a physician, which he declares himself never to have intended for the press. Dr. Kippis, says Simon Wilkin in a note on this passage, seems to have proved that ‘Religio Medici' was written in 1635. In Wilkin's additional memoir of Browne we are told that he returned to England after having obtained his degree of M.D. at Leyden, in 1633. He then returned at once to England, and settled as a physician at Shepden Hall, near Halifax, where he had enforced leisure enough to meditate
upon his past life and to write the · Religio Medici, one of the fairest monuments of the English mind.” If this were so, and in 1634 the MS. was in circulation amongst literary people, it is possible Howell, the friend of Ben Jonson, looked at it and, intentionally or unintentionally, reproduced its style.
Debrio. Disquisitiones Magica, Proloquium. Moguntiæ, 1612.
Bayle. Dictionnaire historique et critique, revu par Prosp. Marchand.
Scot, Michael. Liber physiognomie. Opuscula. Lyons, 1531.
Scott, Sir Walter. Lay of the Last Minstrel (Notes to).
Dante. Tutte le opere di Dante, con varie annot. e copiosi rami, 8c.
dal Conte Don Christ. Zapata de Cisneros. In Venetia, 1757.
Dante. Translated by Henry Cary.