but only the holy must die

January 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

Eripitur persona, manet res, Ramsey, you recall? We take pains to heap up things useful in our life and get our death in the purchase . . . .

—The Rule and Exercises of Dying?

—Not simply dying, my boy. The Reverend Jeremy Taylor is unconcerned with something so common. Words must be made right, never forget. No, it’s The Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying. I’m surprised you made such a mistake, R. I’m old and forget details, but you?

—I’m sorry. I just misspoke.

—But of course this is not simply a detail is it, the difference between dying and holy dying. It’s not enough, R., that everything can and does die. No no no . . . What does Thomas Adams say? Remember your tribe, and your fathers poor house, and the pit whereout you were hewn. Hannibal is at the gates, death stands at your doors . . .

be not proud, be not mad: you must die.

—Yes, Ramsey. But did you hear it? Of course you did: must die, not does die. Holy dying refuses the biological necessity … the shrugged shoulder acquiescence that your day is done … licking your lips at your goose is finally cooked. Everything can and does die, Ramsey, this is true, but only the holy must die. You see the difference, don’t you? Yes, of course you do. You’ve spent time with the metaphysicals, you must.

Every thing, every day suffers some eclipse, and nothing stands in a stay, but one Creature calls to another, “Let us leave the World.”

—Henry Smith, oh, dear Smith! First we wax old, then we wax dry, then we wax weak, then we wax sick, and so we melt away by drops.

We must return to our mother’s womb.

—Yes, R.! Yes!

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