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Thus died Boerhaave, a mian formed by nature før great designs, and guided by religion in the exertion of his abilities. He was of a robuft and athletic conftitution 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 Itrength. There was in his air and motion fomething rough and artless, but so majestick and great at the fame time, that no man ever looked upon him without veneration, and a kind of tacit submission to the superiority of his genius.
The rigour and activity of his mind sparkled visibly 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 chearful, and desirous of promoting mirth by a facetious and humourous conversation; he was never foured by calumny and detraction, nor ever thought it neceffary 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 feverity of censure, for he never dwelt on the faults or defečls of others, and was so far from inflaming the envy of his rivals by dweiling on his own excellencies, that he rarely mentioned himself or his writings.
He was not to be over-awed or depressed by the presence, frowns, or infolence of great men, but perfisted on all occasions in the right, with a resolution always present and always calm. He was modeft, bur not timorous, and firm without rudeness,
He could, with uncommon readiness and certainty, make a conjecture of mens inclinations and capacity by their aspect.
His method of life was, to study in 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 profecute his ftudies without interruption.
The diligence with which he pursued his studies, is fufficiently evident from his fuccess. Statesmen and generals may grow great by unexpected accidents, and a fortunate concurrence of circunstances, neither procured nor foreseen by themselves : but reputation in the learned world must be the effect of industry and capacity. Boerhaave loft none of his hours, but, when he had attained one science, attempted another: he added phyfick 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 ineanly as to believe he could discover nothing but what was to be learned from them. He examined the observations of other men, but trusted only to his own. VOL. IV.
Nor was he unacquainted with the art of reconto mending truth by elegance, and embellishing the philosopher with polite literature; he knew that but a sınall part of mankind will facrifice their pleasure to their improvement, and those authors, who would find many readers, muft endeavour to please while they instruct.
He knew the importance of his own writings to mankind, and left 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 dependance on God, was the batis 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 fo entirely suppressed that impetuous and ungovernable paffion? he answered, with the utmost frankness and sincerity, that he was naturally quick of resentment, but that he had,
by daily prayer and ineditation, at length attained to this mastery over himself.
As foon 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 bufiness 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 the 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 obfervation of the precept of Mofes concerning the love of God and man. He worshiped Cod az he is in himself, without attempting to enquire into his nature. He desired only to think of God, what God knows of himself. There he stopped, left, by indulging his own ideas, he fhould form a Deity from his own imagination, and fin by falling down before him. To the will of God he paid an absolute submnission, without endeavouring to discover the reason of his determinations; and this he accounted the first and most inviolable duty of a Chriftian. When he A a 2
heard *" Doctrinam facris literis Hebraicè & Græcètraditam, folam anime falutarem & agnovit & fentit. Omni opportunitate profitebatur disciplinam, quam Jesus Christus ore & vita expreflit, unicè tran. quillitatem dare menti. Semperque dixit amicis, pacem animi haud reperiundam nisi in magno Motis præcepto de fincero amore Dei & hominis bene observato. Neque extra facra monumenta uspiain inveniri, quod mentem ferenet. Deum pius adoravit, qui et.' Intelligere de Deo unicè volebat id, quod Deus de se intelligit. Eo contentus ultra nihil requisivit, ne idololatria erraret. In voluntate Dei fic requiefcebat,, ut illius nullam omnino rationem indagandim putaret. Hanc unicè fupremain omnium legem effe contendebat; deliberata constantia perfectiflimè colendam. De aliis & scipso fentiebat : ut quoties criminis reos ad poenas letales damnatos audiret, femper cogitaret, sæpe diceret;": Quis dixerat annon me fint “ meliores ? Utique, fi iple melior, id non mihi auctori tribuendum " elle palaru aio, confiteor ; fed ita largienti Deo." Orig. Edit.
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 ! May those who study his writings imitate his life! and those who endeavour after his knowledge aspire likewise to his piety!
He married, September 17, 1710, Mary Drolenveaux, the only daughter of a burgo-master of Leyden, by whom he had Joanna Maria, who survives her father, and three other children who died in their infancy.
The works of this great writer are so generally known, and so highly esteemed, that, though it may