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which he died, between four and five in the morning, in the 70th year of his age. .
Thus died Boerhaave, a man formed by nature for great designs, and guided by religion in the exertion of his abilities. He was of a robust and athletic constitution of body, so hardened by early severities, and wholesome fatigue, that he was insensible of any sharpness of air, or inclemency of weather. He was tall, and remarkable for extraordinary strength. There was in his air and motion something rough and artless, but so majestic and great at the same time, that no man ever looked upon him without veneration, and a kind of tacit submission to the superiority of his genius.
The vigour and activity of his mind sparkled vişibly in his eyes; nor was it ever observed that any change of his fortune, or alteration in his affairs, whether happy or unfortunate, affected his countenance. He was always cheerful, and desirous of
promoting mirth by a facetious and humorous conversation; he was never soured by calumny and detraction, nor ever thought it necessary to confute them; "for they are sparks,” said he, “which if you do not blow them, will go out of themselves.”
Yet he took care never to provoke enemies by severity of censure, for he never dwelt on the faults or defects of others, and was so far from inflaming the envy of his rivals by dwelling on his own excellencies, that he rarely mentioned himself or his writings.
He was not to be overawed or depressed by the presence, frowns, orinsolence of great men, but persisted on all occasions in the right, with a resolution always present and always calm. He was modest, but not timorous, and firm without rudeness.
He could, with uncommon readiness and certainty, make a conjecture of men's inclinations and capacity by their aspect.
His method of life was to studyin the morning and evening, and to allot the middle of the day to his publick business. His usual exercise was riding, till, in his latter years, his distempers made it more proper for him to walk : when he was weary, he amused himself with playing on the violin.
His greatest pleasure was to retire to his house in the country, where he had a garden stored with all the herbs and trees which the climate would bear; here he used to enjoy his hours unmolested, and prosecute his studies without interruption.
The diligence with which he pursued his studies is sufficiently evident from his success. Statesmen and generals may grow great by unex. pected accidents, and a fortunate concurrence of circumstances, neither procured nor foreseen by themselves: but reputation in the learned world must be the effect of industry and capacity. Boerhaave lost none of his hours, but, when he had attained one science, attempted another: he added physick to divinity, chemistry to the mathematicks, and anatomy to botany. He examined systems by experiments, and formed experiments into systems. He neither neglected the observations of others, nor blindly submitted to celebrated names. He neither thought so highly of himself as to imagine he could receive no light from books, nor so meanly as to believe he could discover nothing but was to be learned from them. He examined the observations of other men, but trusted only to his own.
Nor was he unacquainted with the art of recommending truth by elegance, and embellishing the philosopher with polite literature: he knew that but a small part of mankind will sacrifice their pleasure to their improvement, and those authors who would find many readers, must endeavour to please while they instruct.
He knew the importance of his own writings to mankind, and lest he might by a roughness and barbarity of style, too frequent among men of great learning, disappoint his own intentions, and make his labours less useful, he did not neglect the politer arts of eloquence and poetry. Thus was his learning at once various and exact, profound and agreeable.
But his knowledge, however uncommon, holds, in his character, but the second place; his virtue was yet much more uncommon than his learning. He was an admirable example of temperance, fortitude, humility, and devotion. His piety, and a religious sense of his dependence on God, was the basis of all his virtues, and the principle of his whole conduct. He was too sensible of his weakness to ascribe any thing to himself, or to conceive that he could subdue passion, or withstand temptation, by his own natural power; he attributed every good thought, and every laudable action, to the Father of goodness. Being once asked by a friend, who had often admired his patience under great provocations, whether he knew what it was
to be angry, and by what means he had so entirely suppressed that impetuous and ungovernable passion ? he answered, with the utmost frankness and sincerity, that he was naturally quick of resentment, but that he had, by daily prayer and meditation, at length attained to this mastery over himself.
As soon as he rose in the morning, it was, throughout his whole life, his daily practice to retire for an hour to private prayer and meditation; this, he often told his friends, gave him spirit and vigour in the business of the day, and this he therefore commended as the best rule of life ; for nothing, he knew, could support the soul in all distresses but a confidence in a Supreme Being, nor can a steady and rational magnanimity flow from any other source than a consciousness of the divine favour.
He asserted on all occasions the divine authority, and sacred efficacy of the holy scriptures; and maintained that they alone taught the way of salvation, and that they only could give peace of mind. The excellency of the Christian religion was the frequent subject of his conversation. A strict obedience to the doctrine, and a diligent imitation of the example of our Blessed Saviour, he often declared to be the foundation of true tranquillity. He recommended to his friends a careful observation of the precept of Moses concerning the love of God and man. He worshipped God as he is in himself, without attempting to inquire into his nature. He desired only to think of God, what God knows of himself. There he stopped, lest, by indulging his own ideas, he
should form a Deity from his own imagination, and sin by falling down before him. To the will of God he paid an absolute submission, without endeavouring to discover the reason of his determinations; and this he accounted the first and most inviolable duty of a Christian. When he heard of a criminal condemned to die, he used to think, who can tell whether this man is not better than I? or, if I am better, it is not to be ascribed to myself, but to the goodness of God.
Such were the sentiments of Boerhaave, whose words we have added in the note *. So far was this man from being made impious by philosophy, or vain by knowledge, or by virtue, that he ascribed all his abilities to the bounty, and all his goodness to the grace of God. May his example extend its influence to his admirers and followers!
*" Doctrinam sacris literis Hebraicè et Græcè traditam, solam animæ salutarem et agnovit et sensit. Omni opportunitate profitebatur disciplinam, quam Jesus Christus ore et vita expressit, unicè tranquillitatem dare menti. Semperque dixit amicis, pacem animi haud reperiundam nisi in magno Mosis præcepto de sincero amore Dei et hominis bene observato. Neque extra sacra monumenta uspiam inveniri, quod mentem serenet. Deum pius adoravit, qui est. Intelligere de Deo, unicè volebat id, quod Deus de se intelligit. Eo contentus ultra nihil requisivit, ne idololatria erraret. In voluntate Dei sic requiescebat, ut illius nullam omnino rationem indagandam putaret. Hanc unicè supremam omnium legem esse contendebat; deliberata constantia perfectissimè colendam. De aliis et seipso sentiebat : ut quoties criminis reos ad pænas letales damnatos audiret, semper cogitaret, sæpe diceret; “Quis dixerat annon me sint meliores ? Utique, si ipse melior, id non mihi auctori tribuendum esse palam aio, confiteor ; sed ita largienti Deo.” Orig. Edit.