Meditation V

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Meditation V
by John Donne

As Sicknes is the greatest misery, so the greatest misery of sicknes, is solitude; when the infectiousnes of the disease deterrs them who should assist, from comming; even the Phisician dares scarse come. Solitude is a torment which is not threatned in hell it selfe. Meere vacuitie, the first Agent, God, the first instrument of God, Nature, will not admit; Nothing can be utterly emptie, but so neere a degree towards Vacuitie, as Solitude, to bee but one, they love not. When I am dead, and my body might infect, they have a remedy, they may bury me; but when I am but sick, and might infect, they have no remedy, but their absence, and my solitude. It is an excuse to them that are great, and pretend, and yet are loth to come; it is an inhibition to those who would truly come, because they may be made instruments, and pestiducts, to the infection of others, by their comming. And it is an Outlawry, an Excommunication upon the Patient, and seperats him from all offices not onely of Civilitie, but of working Charitie. A long sicknesse will weary friends at last, but a pestilentiall sicknes averts them from the beginning. God himself would admit a figure of Society, as there is a plurality of persons in God, though there bee but one God; and all his externall actions testifie a love of Societie, and communion. In Heaven there are Orders of Angels, and Armies of Martyrs, and in that house, many mansions; in Earth, Families, Cities, Churches, Colleges, all plurall things; and lest either of these should not be company enough alone, there is an association of both, a Communion of Saints, which makes the Militant, and Triumphant Church, one Parish; So that Christ, was not out of his Dioces, when hee was upon the Earth, nor out of his Temple, when he was in our flesh. God, who sawe that all that hee made, was good, came not so neer seeing a defect in any of his works, as when he saw that it was not good, for man to bee alone, therefore hee made him a helper; and one that should helpe him so, as to increase the number, and give him her owne, and more societie. Angels who do not propagate, nor multiply, were made at the first in an abundant number; and so were starres: But for the things of this world, their blessing was, Encrease; for I think, I need not aske leave to think, that there is no Phenix; nothing singular, nothing alone: Men that inhere upon Nature only, are so far from thinking, that there is anything singular in this world, as that they will scarce thinke, that this world it selfe is singular, but that every Planet, and every Starre, is another world like this; They finde reason to conceive, not onely a pluralitie in every Species in the world, but a pluralitie of worlds; so that the abhorrers of Solitude, are not solitary; for God, and Nature, and Reason concurre against it. Now a man may counterfeyt the Plague in a vowe, and mistake a Disease for Religion; by such a retiring, and recluding of himselfe from all men, as to doe good to no man, to converse with no man. God hath two Testaments, two Wils; but this is a Scedule, and not of his, a Codicill, and not of his, not in the body of his Testaments, but interlin'd, and postscrib'd by others, that the way to the Communion of Saints, should be by such a solitude, as excludes all doing of good here. That is a disease of the mind; as the height of an infectious disease of the body, is solitude, to be left alone: for this makes an infectious bed, equall, nay worse than a grave, that thogh in both I be equally alone, in my bed I know it, and feele it, and shall not in my grave: and this too, that in my bedd, my soule is still in an infectious body, and shall not in my grave bee so.