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in the bud of this sweet rose. In a little more than six months his beloved companion died of consumption.
Such was the shock upon his sensibilities produced by this sad and melancholy bereavement, that it seemed to have paralyzed his mental energies ; during the four years of his solitary condition, he seemed to suspend those active literary employments, of which he had given so hopeful promise. In 1789, he married a second time. The object of his choice was the daughter of Thomas Fenn, Esq., a highly respectable banker at Sudbury. With this lady, who possessed superior excellence and worth, he shared the conjugal endearments during the last thirty-eight years of his life. The fruits of this marriage were six children, two only of whom with their widowed mother survive.
The year after this marriage, Dr. Good commenced the study of the Hebrew language, of which he soon acquired a critical knowledge, as was cxhibited in some of the most valuable productions of his pen. The sphere of his professional labour became very extensive, and a prospect of competence and even wealth was opened before him. But too soon he proved the versatility of all human possessions; for in 1792, by becoming legally bound for the debts of others, or by lending a large sum of money to personal friends which they were unable to pay, he became involved in great pecuniary embarrassment. Instead, however, of availing himself of the entire relief which was promptly offered by Mr. Fenn, he estimated his loss as the penal infliction for his imprudence, and therefore determined to tax his mental resources for his penance; and to his misfortune he was indebted for the developement of genius and talent of which he was till then unconscious.
He began with increasing assiduity a course of literary activity almost without a parallel. He wrote plays, made translations, composed poems and philosophical essays, which, though possessed of acknowledged merit, all failed to yield him pecuniary remuneration to any extent. At length, however, he published his fugitive pieces in “ The World,” the Morning Post of that day, and under the signature of the “ Rural Bard,” he introduced himself to popular favour.
In the year 1793, having unsuccessfully contended against the frowns of adversity, he was fortunate enough to receive a proposition to remove to London, and engage in partnership with a surgeon and apothecary of extensive practice in the metropolis, and to obtain an official connexion as surgeon in one of the prisons. He availed himself of this opening, and went to London, his spirits buoyant with hope, that a fairer and brighter day was about to dawn upon him. But again he was doomed to the sad and unavoidable defeat of his apparently well-founded expectations ; for, having been admitted the same year a member of the College of Surgeons, and having received other marks of professional distinction, his partner became jealous of his rising popularity, and his envy caused him to pursue a course of conduct which resulted in the failure of their business and the dissolution of their partnership. Still he concealed from his father. in-law, and even from his own family, the extent of his embarrassments, and shrunk from receiving full relief, though perfectly within his reach; and resolved to incur no obligation, but rely upon his own resources.
Although he was surrounded by an increasing family, frequent and unexpected vexations, and the defeat of all his favourite projects, each in its turn did not in the least dishearten him, but, on the contrary, were continual incentives to his professional activity and to the most extended literary research. For nearly four years, thus circumstanced, he concealed his anxieties from those he most loved, maintained a cheerful demeanour among his friends, pursued his theoretical and practical inquiries into every accessible channel ; and, at length, by his exertions, and the blessing of God, surmounted every difficulty, and obtained professional reputation and emolument, sufficient to satisfy his thirst for fame, and to place him in what are regarded as reputable and easy circumstances.
In 1795, he gained a premium of twenty guineas by successfully competing before the Medical Society; having presented the best dissertation on the question, “What are the diseases most frequent in workhouses, poorhouses, and similar institutions, and what are the best means of cure and of prevention.” Soon after, his talents and acquirements began to be highly appreciated, and in 1797 he commenced his translation of Lucretius. To his knowledge of the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French, and Italian, he now added that of the German, Spanish, and Portuguese; and, by the year 1800, he had made considerable attainments in the Arabic and Persian languages. Very soon he gave evidence in some of the Reviews of his success in these difficult languages, and attracted the attention and secured the kind offices of many of the literati of Great Britain.
He next published his “ History of Medicine,” which has not since been surpassed either in accuracy or style. During the few years which intervened between his temporal embarrassments and his final triumph over them, in 1812, besides multiplied productions of his pen in prose and poetry, of which a catalogue would be too prolix for our present purpose, he made a translation of the Song of Songs or Sacred Idyls, Essay on Medical Technology, Translation of the Book of Job; and, in conjunction with Dr. Gregory and Mr. Bosworth, prepared for the press the Pantologia, or Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Words, in twelve volumes, royal octavo.
In the year 1810, he was invited to deliver a series of lectures at the Surrey Institution," on any subjects, literary or scientific, which would be agreeable to himself.” He complied with the request of the directors, and delivered a first, second, and third series of lectures during three successive winters, to crowded audiences which attended with gratification and delight. His subjects were—of the first series, “The Nature of the Material World;" the second, “ The Nature of the Animate World ;” and the third, “ The Nature of the Mind.” To these lectures we are indebted for the nucleus upon which Dr. Good afterward amplified, until the “ Book of Nature" was the finished product.
He continued, in addition to these immense intellectual labours, to perform the duties of surgeon and apothecary, walking twelve or fifteen miles a day through the streets of London, until the year 1820, when he added the more elevated character of a physician, and, in his own language, “ began the world afresh, with good omens and a fair breeze.” Immediately afterward, he published his “ Physiological System of Nosology," and within two years, “ The Study of Medicine" was finished. This work the British
Medical Reviews pronounce “ beyond all comparison the best of the kind in the English language,” and its author “one who could devour whole libraries."
Such were the perpetual occupations of this eminent man, literary and professional, and such the splendid acquirements which he gained by his genius and industry, even amid a larger share of perplexities and disappointments than have served to damp the energies of many who might otherwise have shone as stars of the first magnitude. Thus illustrating his claims to true merit, which, according to Oliver Goldsmith, “ consists, not in a man's never falling, but in rising as often as he falls.”
So great a variety of occupations would have thrown most men into confusion; but such was the energy of Dr. Good's mind, such his habits of order and activity, that he carried them all forward simultaneously, and suffered none to be neglected, or inadequately executed. Indeed, his practical maxim was akin to that of another eminent individual of indefatigable application, the late Dr. E. D. Clarke, who said, “ I have lived to know the great secret of human happiness is this,-never suffer your energies to stagnate. The old adage of too many irons in the fire' conveys an abominable lie. You cannot have too many; poker, tongs, and all—keep them all going."
Hence we find him at one and the same time engaged in acquiring several distinct languages ; translating largely from others; editing and sustaining Reviews; contributing to other periodicals on various and distinct branches of polite literature; preparing for the press original works ; enriching his commonplace book with “ elegant extracts,” the result of his immense reading, besides daily performing the arduous duties of a general practitioner, to an extent of which many would have complained, though they had no other occupations; and which thousands make a sufficient apology for neglecting to read even the professional improvements of their own time. The great secret of his distinguished career was, in having adopted early in life Mr. Mason's “ Rules for Students," as commended by the example of his father ; that, for eminence and success in literary pursuits, “ five things are necessary; viz. a proper distribution and management of his time; a right method of reading to advantage; the order and regulation of his studies; the proper way of collecting and preserving useful sentiments from books and conversation ; and the improvement of his thoughts when alone."
In these five particulars it will be perceived that Dr. Good greatly excelled ; and his eminence as a scholar, philosopher, linguist, and physician was, no doubt, the result of his perseverance in practising them, rather than of any extraordinary originality of genius, or splendid endowments of nature.
Among the rare excellences of the character of Dr. Good, and by no means the least interesting traits of his history, may be mentioned his extraordinary temperance, fortitude, humility, and devotion. Amid all the occupations of his professional life, and all his application to literary pursuits as a student and an author, he still found time and inclination to investigate the claims of Christianity; and, having become convinced of its truth and importance, practised upon its precepts with rigid scrupulous
1 ess, and was eventually led to embrace its doctrines and its spirit as the great ultimatum of human attainments. In the language of his biographer, he had “ sought for intelligence at the Great Fountain of intellect, and had found Him whom to know is life eternal."
It is true, that in the former part of his life, Dr. Good was led into many errors of opinion, which he found reason to recant; and he afterward deprecated the errors in practice resulting from those opinions. But although, at that time, the ranks of infidelity were most numerously, and, we may add, ably occupied, and by many of his literary associates; yet he could never altogether overcome the principles impressed upon his mind by the early instructions of his father: and hence he was preserved from those fatal errors, which, if received into his mind at that time, would doubtless have led him into a labyrinth of metaphysical subtlety, from which he might never have extricated himself.
But he avoided these dangers to which by his early associations he was exposed; being protected by the impressions made on his mind under his paternal roof, in favour of the truth and authenticity of the sacred Scriptures ; and he wrote an essay on the “Credibility of Revelation,” which is still extant: but, it seems, he either wanted the opportunity, or perhaps the moral courage, to publish it, although it was admirably calculated to be useful, judging from the extracts furnished by his biographer.
Still, however much as he admired the general system of revelation, and ably as he could defend it, it would seem that he vacillated in his creed from one error to another, and wandered in the mazes of intellectual and moral obscurity, in full view of the Light which could alone illuminate his path. He acknowledged its existence, occasionally glanced towards it, which only served to make his “ darkness visible;" yet still he sought not for tranquillity and peace by implicitly yielding to its influence. In an essay “ On Happiness," written about this time, he reasons himself very elaborately into the persuasion that there is an intimate connexion “ between morals and natural philosophy;" that “the same spark that shoots through the mind the rays of science and information, diffuses through the heart the softer energies of nature," and he thus exhibits the final issue of this momentous inquiry :
“ From such considerations as these, then, it results, that he is pursuing the most probable path to human felicity, who, blessed by nature with a soul moderately alive to the social affections, and an understanding that elevates him above the prejudices and passions of the ignorant, cultivates with a sedulous attention the one that he may best enjoy the capacities of the other.”
With these views of the nature of happiness and the best method of securing it, he was led to the avowal of the system of Materialism, and that of the Universalists, with respect to future punishment; and becoming associated with a number of gentlemen who professed their belief in the doctrines of modern Socinianism, he soon acquired a kindred spirit, and on his removal to London, in 1793, he joined the congregation of Mr. Belsham, a distinguished minister of that persuasion in the metropolis, where he constantly attended worship until the year 1807.
During the fourteen years he was thus connected with this Socinian congregation, his religious belief was in nowise settled ; and by his early familiarity with the truth, he was preserved to a great extent from the worst tendencies of this system. Hence, says hvis biographer, “ He was too learned and too honest ever to affirm that the belief of the Divinity and atonement of our Lord was unknown in the purest ages of the church, but was engendered among other corruptions by false philosophy ; and he had uniformly too great a regard for the scriptures of the New Testament, to assert that the apostles indulged in far-fetched reasoning, or made use of a Greek word (novoyevns) which conveyed an erroneous notion, from want of knowledge of the term they ought to have employed : he never contended that St. Paul did not mean to teach the doctrine of the resurrection of the body in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians ; never sported the pernicious sophism that “where mystery begins religion ends. Being • buried alive' in occupations, and immersed in vexations of no ordinary occurrence, he did not commune frequently with his own heart, and too naturally sunk into a lamentable indifference to religion, at least, if that word correctly imply converse with God;' but he never evinced indifference to truth and rectitude, nor ever, I believe, became involved in the more awful perplexities of skepticism.
“ Indeed, the Bible was always with him a favourite book; though for many years, it is to be feared, he turned to it rather as a source of literary amusement, or of critical speculation, than for any higher purposes. After his death there was found an interleaved Pocket Bible, bound in two volumes, in which he often entered notes and observations. This interesting relic is now in my possession. The annotations are very numerous, and, by the variations in the handwriting and the appearance of the ink, mark with sufficient accuracy the dates of their insertion, from 1790, when they were commenced, until about 1824, when he found the type in which the Bible is printed too small for him to continue reading it with comfort. These notes present decisive proofs of the nature of his sentiments in different periods of his life ; and in some cases mark his solicitude in later age to correct the errors of the season of speculation and thoughtlessness.”
Although he had become bewildered by adopting erroneous sentiments, yet he never entirely lost his love of truth; and hence the forced and unnatural criticisms in which his theological friends indulged, and the skeptical spirit which some of them manifested, by shocking his uprightness, contributed to his ultimate emancipation.
After contending against the conflict within him for fourteen years, the preaching at the Socinian chapel at length gave him serious pain; and language from the pulpit, which Dr. Good regarded as equivalent to the recommendation of skepticism, led to the following correspondence.
“ TO THE REVEREND
“ Caroline Place, Jan. 26th, 1807. “ Dear Sir, “ It is with much regret I feel myself compelled to discontinue my attendance at the chapel in
and to break off my connexion with a society with which I have cordially associated for nearly fourteen years
“I sincerely respect your talents, and the indefatigable attention you have