Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Browne’s meditation revolves around faith, hope for salvation, and charity. He describes his faith as an Anglican, explaining that he embraced this Protestant religion that he was born into, guided through by his parents, and later affirmed into by his own conscious choice. Appreciation and acceptance of God and Christ result from reason, observation, and faith. Reason demands study and understanding of Scripture and Church doctrine. It is supported by observation of nature.

Browne’s profession, that of a medical doctor, has led him to God by causing him to look closely at nature, discovering the discernible perfection of the created world. Nothing in the world is grotesque or ugly; everything is harmonious and connected. People, whom he calls amphibians, connect to the spiritual angels and material beasts. In addition, people contain the entire world within themselves, perfect microcosms.

In addition to reason and observation, belief requires faith. Faith necessitates acceptance of mystery. Browne delights in mystery, finding his faith the richer for it. Faith is required for salvation, assured only for those who believe in the Incarnation. Browne regrets that so many wise philosophers may be denied salvation and eternal reward, having been born before Christ’s coming.

This kind of speculation reflects Browne’s atypical tolerance in this era of religious extremism. Although he accepts church doctrine, he does hold hope that God in his mercy will provide for those good people who did not have the opportunity to exercise faith. Knowing the difficulties people face in life, Browne refuses to judge others.

Browne affirms that charity is as important as faith. While doing good works, especially caring for the poor, is essential, true charity for Browne results from totally sympathizing with and appreciating the soul of his fellow human beings. He explains that a true friendship with another, in which two souls become as one, prepares a person to fully apprehend God in each human being. Once this has been accomplished, a person can extend good works, hold good thoughts, and offer prayers for all others.