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Of the Body, after the Departure of the Soul.

TO Thee I now turn back, O my most sweet Creator, my most gracious Redeemer, Thou fashioner and refashioner of my nature, humbly in prayer beseeching Thy goodness to teach my heart to consider with life-giving fear and wholesome trembling the foul and mournful state of my flesh after my death when bereft of that spirit which doth at present quicken it, it must be delivered over to be consumed by corruption and the worm. If it have any beauty now, wherein it taketh pride, where will it then be? where the abundance of most exquisite delights? where the delicate limbs? Will there not then be fulfilled indeed that saying of the Prophet, All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness 84thereof is as the flower of the field?117117   Isa. xl. 6. Then shall mine eyes be closed and turned backward unto the inner chambers of the brain, in the vain and mischievous imaginations whereof I so often took pleasure. Now they rejoice to drink in vanity as daylight; but then shall they lie covered with horrible darkness. The ears that now with damnable delight entertain the discourse of slanderers and the vain rumours of the world shall then lie open to the worms, soon to be filled by them. The teeth that now are loosened in gluttonous eating shall be miserably clogged and choked. The nostrils shall stink, that now are delighted with variety of sweet odours. The lips shall be hideous with the fulness of corruption, that so many times rejoiced to be opened in foolish laughter. The throat shall be clogged and the belly filled with worms, that have again and again been swollen by all manner of meats.

But why should I speak severally of every member? The whole frame of the body, whose health comfort and pleasure is almost all our care, shall be dissolved into corruption, into worms, at the last into the basest dust of the earth. Where is now thy proud neck, where thy boastful words, thy rich apparel, thy manifold delights? They have passed away like a dream, they have all gone never to return, and him that was in love with them they have left to misery.

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