Meditation VI

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The Phisician is afraid.

I observe the Phisician, with the same diligence, as hee the disease; I see hee feares, and I feare with him: I overtake him, I overrun him in his feare, and I go the faster, because he makes his pace slow; I feare the more, because he disguises his fear, and I see it with the more sharpnesse, because hee would not have me see it. He knowes that his feare shall not disorder the practise, and exercise of his Art, but he knows that my fear may disorder the effect, and working of his practise. As the ill affections of the spleene, complicate, and mingle themselves with every infirmitie of the body, so doth feare insinuat it self in every action, or passion of the mind; and as the wind in the body will counterfet any disease, and seem the stone, and seem the Gout, so feare will counterfet any disease of the Mind; It shall seeme love, a love of having, and it is but a fear, a jealous, and suspitious feare of loosing; It shall seem valor in despising, and undervaluing danger, and it is but feare, in an overvaluing of opinion, and estimation, and a feare of loosing that. A man that is not afraid of a Lion is afraid of a Cat; not afraid of starving, and yet is afraid of some joynt of meat at the table, presented to feed him; not afraid of the sound of Drummes, and Trumpets, and Shot, and those, which they seeke to drowne, the last cries of men, and is afraid of some particular harmonious instrument; so much afraid, as that with any of these the enemy might drive this man, otherwise valiant enough, out of the field. I know not, what fear is, nor I know not what it is that I fear now; I feare not the hastening of my death, and yet I do fear the increase of the disease; I should belie Nature, if I should deny that I feared this, and if I should say that I feared death, I should belye God; My weaknesse is from Nature, who hath but her Measure, my strength is from God, who possesses, and distributes infinitely. As then every cold ayre, is not a dampe, every shivering is not a stupefaction, so every feare, is not a fearefulnes, every declination is not a running away, every debating is not a resolving, every wish, that it were not thus, is not a murmuring, nor a dejection though it bee thus; but as my Phisicians fear puts not him from his practise, neither doth mine put me, from receiving from God, and Man, and my selfe, spirituall, and civill, and morall assistances, and consolations.

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.