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For that virtuous men die in the prime of their years by the kindness of the Gods, to whom they are peculiarly [p. 335] dear, I have already told thee in the former part of my discourse, and will give a short hint of it now, bearing witness to that which is so prettily said by Menander:— He whom the Gods do love dies young.

But perhaps, my dear Apollonius, thou wilt thus object to me: My young Apollonius was blessed by fortune in his life, and I ought first to have died that he might bury me; for this is according to nature. According to our human nature, I confess; but Providence hath other measures, and that supreme order which governs the world is very different; for thy son being now made happy, it was not requisite according to nature that he should tarry in this life longer than the time prefixed him, but that, having consummated the term of his duration, he should perform his fatal journey, Nature recalling him to herself. But he died untimely, youmay say. Upon that account he is the happier, not having been sensible of those evils which are incident to life. For Euripides said truly:—

The time of being here we style amiss;
We call it life, but truly labor 'tis.

Thy Apollonius died in the beautiful flower of his years, a youth in all points perfect, who gained the love, and provoked the emulation of all his contemporaries He was dutiful to his father and mother, obliging to his domestics, was a scholar, and (to comprehend all in a word) he was a lover of mankind. He had a veneration for the old men that were his friends, as if they had been his parents, had an affection for his companions and equals, reverenced his instructors, was hospitable and mild to his guests and strangers, gracious to all, and beloved by all, as well for his attractive countenance as for his lovely affability. Therefore, being accompanied with the applauses of thy piety and his own, he hath only made a digression from this mortal life to eternity, as if he had withdrawn from the entertainment before he grew absurd, and before the staggerings [p. 336] of drunkenness came upon him, which are incident to a long old age. Now if the sayings of the old philosophers and poets are true, as there is probability to think, that honors and high seats of dignity are conferred upon the righteous after they are departed this life, and if, as it is said, a particular region is appointed for their souls to dwell in, you ought to cherish very fair hopes that your son stands numbered amongst those blest inhabitants.

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