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CONFIDENCE IN GOD.
had enemies, and never troubled himself to confute them. “ They are sparks,” said he," which, if you do not blow, “ will go out of themselves. The surest remedy against “ scandal is to live it down, by a perseverance in well “ doing ; and by praying to God that he would cure the • distempered minds of those who traduce and injure us.” He was never over-awed by the magnificence or presence of great men, but boldly persisted in proceeding in what he considered to be right, and left the consequence to God. He was enabled, with unexampled celerity and acuteness, to penetrate into the tempers and characters of persons at a glance of his eye. A friend, one day, who had often admired his patience under great provocations, asked-him, if he ever knew what it was to be angry? to which Boerhaave replied with the most perfect frankness, “s that he was naturally quick of resentment; but, that “ by prayer and meditation, he had obtained complete “ mastery over his passions ; this he attributed, as he “ did every good thought, and every laudable action, to “ his God.”
About the middle of the year 1737, he felt the first approaches of that indisposition which was destined to bring him to his grave, viz. a disorder in his breast, which was occasionally very painful, often threatened him with immediate suffocation, and finally terminated in an universal
dropsy: during all the anguish which he suffered, his placid temper and firmness of mind never forsook him ; he attended at once to the ordinary duties of life as if in full health, and prepared for that death which his skill and experience enabled him to know was not very distant.
About three weeks before his dissolution, when the Rev. Mr. Schultens, one of the most learned and exemplary divines of his age, attended him at his country house, the Doctor desired his prayers, and afterwards entered into a sublime discourse with him on the spiritual and immaterial parts of the soul, which he illustrated with wonderful perspicuity, by a description of the effects which the infirmities of his body had upon his faculties, which, however, they did not so oppress, or vanquish, but his soul was always master of itself, and always resigned to the pleasure of its maker, and then added, “ He who loves God “ought to think nothing desirable but what is most pleas“ ing to the supreme goodness.” As death approached nearer, he seemed to be more happy, amidst the increase of corporeal torments, and at length, on the 23d September, 1738, he sunk under them in his 70th year. His funeral oration was spoken in latin before the university of Leyden, to a crowded audience, by his friend Mr. Schultens, amidst tears of genuine regret and sympathy. The city of Leyden has raised a monument in the church
200 of St. Peter, to the sanative genius of Boerhaave" Sa- lutifero Boerhaavii genio sacrum.” It consists of an urn upon a pedestal of black marble, with a group representing the four ages of life, and the two sciences in which Boerhaave excelled. The capital of this basis is decorated with a drapery of white marble, in which the artist has shewn the different emblems of disorders, and their remedies. Upon the pedestal is the medallion of Boerhaave; at the extremity of the frame, a ribband displays the favorite motto of this learned man,“ Simplex vigilum veri.” Professor Allamand had destined a very fine piece of red jasper to be employed in this medallion, but on account of the great expence of cutting the stone his design was abandoned. His pictures represent him as above the middle size, well proportioned, and of a strong constitution : when age had silvered over his hair, his countenance was said to have been extremely venerable and expressive, and to have much resembled the head of Socrates, but with features more softened and engaging. He was an eloquent orator, and declaimed with great dignity and grace. He taught very methodically, and with great precision, but always so captivated his auditors, that they regretted the close of his discourses, which he often enlivened with a sprightly turn of raillery ; but it was ever refined, ingenious, and incapable of offending. He used to say, “ that ** decent mirth was the salt of life.” In the practice of
medicine he gave a decided preference to green over dried herbs, thinking that there was more virtue in herbs when they had their juices, than when decayed and withered. He was a great admirer of simples, and consequently was not a great patron of the apothecaries. When health would permit he regularly rode on horseback ; when his strength began to fail him he walked, and upon his return home, music, of which he was passionately fond, gladdened the hours of relaxation, and enabled him to return to his labours with redoubled alacrity. Dr. Johnson has written the following beautiful eulogium on this great man : “ A man formed by nature for great designs, and “ guided by religion in the exertion of his abilities: de“ termined to lose none of his hours, when he had at“ tained one science, he attempted another : he added “physic to divinity ; chemistry to the mathematics, and
anatomy to botany. He recommended truth by his “ elegance, and embellished the philosopher with polite “ literature : yet his knowledge, however uncommon, “ holds in his character but a second place ; for his virtue “ was more uncommon than his learning. He ascribed all“ his abilities to the bounty, and all his goodness to the “ grace of his God. May those who study his writings “ imitate his life! and those who endeavour after his “ knowledge, aspire likewise to his piety.”
THE BOTANIC GARDEN—THE CELEBRATED ANTIENT PALM-BUSTS AND
THE botanic garden is not very large; in the time of Boerhaave it must have been small indeed, as its history represents it to have been considerably enlarged since that period: in the frontispiece of his Index Horti L. Bat. 1710, it is represented to be a petty square piece of ground. It now occupies about four acres, and is in excellent order : the trees and plants are marked according to the Linnæan system; but it is infinitely inferior in value and arrangement to the botanic gardens of Upsala and of the Dublin Society. Amongst the plants, I approached with the reverence due to it, the venerable remains of vegetable antiquity, in the shape of a palm, which stands in a tub in the open air, supported by a thin frame