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another noted puritan,* who was appointed chaplain to Lord Vere (then serving in the Low Countries, under the Prince of Orange) with the intention of offering himself to that nobleman as a volunteer. But from this purpose he was diverted by a law-suit commenced against him, for part of his paternal inheritance, by Sir William Whitmore; in consequence of which having consulted Serjeant Glanville † upon the case, he was persuaded by that gentleman, who had observed his extraordinary capacity, to apply himself to the law as a profession. Hale took his advice, and entered himself a member of Lincoln's Inn, in 1629.
From this time, he renounced his disorderly com
* See Wood's Ath. Oxon.' II. 138.
+ « Of this eminent lawyer (says Burnet) I shall mention one passage, which ought never to be forgotten : His father had a fair estate, which he intended to settle on his elder brother; but he being a vicious young man, and there appearing no hopes of his recovery, he settled it on him that was his second son. Upon his death his eldest son, finding that what he had before looked on as the threatenings of an angry father was now but too certain, became melancholy; and that by degrees wrought so great a change on him, that what his father could not prévail in while he lived, was now effected by the severity of his last will, so that it was now too late for him to change in hopes of any estate that was gone from him. But his brother, observing the reality of the change, resolved within himself what to do: so he called him with many of his friends together with a feast, and after other dishes had been served up to the dinner, he ordered one that was covered to be set before his brother, and desired him to uncover it; which he doing, the company was surprised to find it full of writings. So he told them that he now to do, what he was sure his father would have done, if he had lived to see that happy change, which they now all saw in his brother; and, therefore, he freely restored to him the whole estate.'
pany, and with it every kind of dissipation; studying (it is said) for many years, in order to make up for the time which he had lost by idleness, at the rate of sixteen hours a day. He had, previously, been extremely expensive in his apparel : but this he now so wholly neglected, that he was even seized by a press-gang as a fit person to serve his Majesty!
His resolution to reform his life was confirmed by another extraordinary incident: having left town with a party of students on an excursion of pleasure, one of them drank so much wine, that he fell down before them to all appearance dead, and was only with great difficulty recovered. Upon this occasion Hale retired into another room, and fervently prayed to God, not only that his friend might be spared, but that he himself also might be forgiven for having countenanced such excess;' after which he made a solemn vow, that he would never again drink a toast to his dying day.' And he religiously kept his word.
While pursuing his studies, he not only punctually attended the Hall during the term, but also continued his regularity throughout the vacation. It was only by indefatigable application, indeed, that he could have acquired so vast a stock of knowledge. He left his bed early, was at no moment idle, scarcely ever conversed about the passing events of the day, or corresponded except upon necessary business or matter of literature, and spent very little time at his meals; never attending public feasts, and giving entertainments (in literal obedience to his Saviour's injunctions) only to
He always rose from dinner with an appetite, and able to enter with an unclouded mind
upon any business, however serious or abstruse.
At the same time, in the duties of religion he was so exemplary, that “ for six and thirty years," as Burnet informs us, “ he never once failed going to church on the Lord's Day.”* This observation he made, when an ague first interrupted that constant course; and he reflected upon it, as an acknowledgement of God's great goodness to him in so long a continuance of his health.
Of his strict account of time the reader will best judge by his scheme of a diary, set down in the same simple way, in which he drew it up for his own private use.
“ MORNING. I. To lift up the heart to God in thankfulness for renewing my life.
II. To renew my covenant with God in Christ, 1. By renewed acts of faith, receiving Christ, and rejoicing in the height of that relation; 2. Resolution of being one of his people doing him allegiance.
III. Adoration and prayer.
* On this day, says Burnet elsewhere, beside his constancy in the public worship of God, he used to call all his family together, and repeat to them the heads of the sermons with some additions of his own, which he fitted for their capacities and circumstances; and that being done, he had a custom of shutting himself
up for two or three hours, which he either spent in his secret devotions, or on such profitable meditations as did then occur to his thoughts. He writ them with the same simplicity that he formed them in his mind, without any art, or so much as a thought to let them be published: he never corrected them, but laid them by when he had finished them, having intended only to fix and preserve his own reflexions in them; so that he used no sort of care to polish them, or make the first draught perfecter than when they fell from his pen. These were subsequently published, under the title of Contemplations,' in 2 vols. octavo,
IV. Setting a watch over my own infirmities and passions, over the snares laid in our way. Perimus licitis.
DAY EMPLOYMENT. There must be an employment, two kinds :
I. Our ordinary calling; to serve God in it. It is a service to Christ, though never so mean.
Colos. iii. Here faithfulness, diligence, cheerfulness. Not to over-lay myself with more business than I can bear.
II. Our spiritual employments; mingle somewhat of God's immediate service in this day.
REFRESHMENTS. I. Meat and drink; moderation seasoned with somewhat of God.
II. Recreations; 1. Not our business: 2. Suitable. No games, if given to covetousness or passion.
IF ALONE. I. Beware of wandering, vain, lustful thoughts; fly from thyself, rather than entertain these.
II. Let thy solitary thoughts be profitable : view the evidences of thy salvation, the state of thy soul, the coming of Christ, thy own mortality; it will make thee humble and watchful.
COMPANY. Do good to them: Use God's name reverently: Beware of leaving an ill impression of ill example: Receive good from them, if more knowing.
EVENING. Cast up the accounts of the day: If aught amiss, beg pardon; gather resolution of more vigilance: If well, bless the mercy and grace of God, that hath supported thee.”
Not satisfied with the law-publications then extant, he was extremely diligent in investigating ancient records; and from these, and collections out of other volumes, he composed a valuable common-place book. His researches into antiquity were aided by the learned Selden, who had early in life formed an acquaintance with him, assisted if not suggested his inquiries in mathematics, physics, history, chronology, anatomy, surgery, philosophy, and above all, divinity; and, finally, appointed him one of his executors.* Noy, the Attorney General, likewise directed his studies; and such an intimacy subsisted between the tutor and his pupil, that the latter was usually denominated · Young Noy.'
He set himself much, says his biographer, to the study of the Roman law; and, though he liked the way of judicature in England by juries much better than that of the civil law, where so much was trusted to the judge; yet he often said, that the true ground and reasons of law were so well delivered in the Digests, that a man could never understand law as a science so well as by seeking it there, and therefore he lamented much that it was so little studied in England. He looked on readiness in arithmetic, as a thing which might be useful to him in his own employment; and acquired it to such a degree, that he would often on the sudden, and afterward on the bench, resolve very hard questions which had puzzled the best accomptants about town.
With a soul elevated above that mean appetite of loving money, which is generally the root of all evil,' he did not take the profits that he might have had by his practice; for in common cases, when those who came to ask his counsel gave him a price, he used to return half, and so made ten shillings his fee, in ordinary matters that did not
* One of the others was Mr. Vaughan, whom he had highly valued in early life, and who became afterward Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas.