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Who knows but that the Deity, with a fatherly providence and out of tenderness to mankind, foreseeing what would happen, hath taken some purposely out of this life by an untimely death? So we should think that nothing has befallen them which they should have sought to shun,— For nought that cometh by necessity is hard,1 neither of those things which fall out by a precedent ratiocination or a subsequent. And many by a timely death have been withdrawn from greater calamities; so that it hath been good for some never to have been born at all; for others, that as soon as life hath been blown in it should be extinguished; for some, that they should live a little longer; and for others again, that they should be [p. 331] cropped in the prime of their youth. These several sorts of deaths should be taken in good part, since Fate is inevitable. Therefore it becomes men well educated to consider that those who have paid their debt to mortality have only gone before us a little time; that the longest life is but as a point in respect of eternity, and that many who have indulged their sorrow to excess have themselves followed in a small while those that they have lamented, having reaped no profit out of their complaints, but macerated themselves with voluntary afflictions. Since then the time of our pilgrimage in this life is but short, we ought not to consume ourselves with sordid grief, and so render ourselves unhappy by afflicting our minds and tormenting our bodies; but we should endeavor after a more manly and rational sort of life, and not associate ourselves with those who will be companions in grief and by flattering our tears will only excite them the more, but rather with those who will diminish our grief by solemn and generous consolation. And we ought to hear and keep in our remembrance those words of Homer wherewith Hector answers Andromache, comforting her after this manner:— Andromache, my soul's far better part, Why with untimely sorrows heaves thy heart No hostile hand can antedate my doom, Till Fate condemns me to the silent tomb. Fix'd is the term to all the race of earth, And such the hard condition of our birth: No force can then resist, no flight can save, All sinkalike, the fearful and the brave.2 Which the poet expresseth in another place thus: The thread which at his birth for him was spun.3

1 From Euripides.

2 Il. VI. 486.

3 Il. XX: 128.

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