On 19 October 1605, Sir Thomas Browne was born in London (coincidentally, he died on his 77th birthday on 19 October 1682). Trained as a physician, he was drawn to writing as much as he was to medicine. While he wrote a number of books, he is best known for Religio Medici, a journal-like set of reflections about faith and the spiritual life that he described as "a private exercise directed to myself." Not intended for publication, it was initially circulated among his close friends, and was first published without his permission in 1642. Filled with pithy observations (like "Every man is his own greatest enemy") and memorable homilies ("Charity begins at home"), the book struck a chord and was soon translated into many European languages. Now regarded as a literary classic, it contains many memorable, and even timeless, observations.
“The long habit of living indisposeth us for dying.”
“Be charitable before wealth makes you covetous.”
“We carry within us the wonders we seek without us.”
“Obstinacy in a bad cause is but constancy in a good.”
“Rough diamonds may sometimes be mistaken for worthless pebbles.”
“Be able to be alone. Lose not the advantage of solitude, and the society of thyself.”
“A man may be in as just possession of truth as of a city, and yet be forced to surrender.”
“No man can justly censure or condemn another, because indeed no man truly knows another.”
All from Thomas Browne, 1605 – 1682
Lofty and poetic words.