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in the womb of their causes; his understanding could almost pierce into future contingents, his conjectures improving even to prophecy, or the certainties of prediction; till his fall, he was ignorant of nothing but sin; or, at least, it rested in the notion, without the smart of the experiment. Could any difficulty have been proposed, the resolution would have been as early as the proposal;. it could not have had time to settle into doubt. Like a better Archimedes, the issue of all his inquiries was an “I have found it, I have found it! ” — the offspring of his brain, without the sweat of his brow. Study was not then a duty, night-watchings were needless; the light of reason wanted not the assistance of a candle. This is the doom of fallen man, to labor in the fire, to seek truth in the deep, to exhaust his time, and to impair his health, and perhaps to spin out his days and himself into one pitiful controverted conclusion. There was then no poring, no struggling with memory, no straining for invention; his faculties were quick and expedite; they answered without knocking, they were ready upon the first summons; there was freedom and firmness in all their operations. I confess it is as difficult for us, who date our ignorance from our first being, and were still bred up with the same infirmities about us with which we were born, to raise our thoughts and imaginations to those intellectual perfections that attended our nature in the time of innocence, as it is for a peasant bred up in the obscurities of a cottage to fancy in his mind the unseen splendors of a court. But by rating positives by their privatives, and other acts of reason, by which discourse supplies the want of the reports of sense, we may collect the excellency of the understanding then by the glorious remainders of it now, and guess at the stateliness of the building by the magnificence of its ruins. All those arts, rarities, and inventions, which vulgar minds gaze at, the ingenious pursue, and all admire, are but the relics of an intellect defaced with sin and time. We admire it now only as antiquaries do a piece of old coin, for the stamp it once bore, and not for those vanishing lineaments and disappearing draughts that remain upon it at present. And certainly that must needs have been very glorious the decays of which are so admirable. He that is comely when old and decrepit, surely was very beautiful when he was young. An Aristotle was but the rubbish of an Adam, and Athens but the rudiments of Paradise.
William SHERLOCK. 1678–1761. (Manual, p. 258.)
165. CHARITY. The Gospel, though it has left men in possession of their ancient rights, yet has it enlarged the duties of love and compassion, and taught rich men to consider the poor not only as servants but as brethren, and to look on themselves' not only as the masters, but as
the patrons and protectors of the needy. On this view, the industrious poor are entitled to the rich man's charity; since, in the candor of the Gospel, we ought to assist our poor neighbors, not only to live, but to live comfortably: and an honest, laborious poverty has charms in it to draw relief from any rich man who has the heart of a Christian or even the bowels of nature. Mean families, though, perhaps, they may subsist by their work, yet go through much sorrow to earn their bread: if they complain not, they are more worthy of regard; their silent suffering and their contented resignation to Providence, entitle them to the more compassion; and there is a pleasure, not to be described in words, which the rich man enjoys, when he makes glad the heart of such patient sufferers, and, by his liberality, makes them for a time forget their poverty and distress; that even, with respect to the present enjoyments, the words are verified, “ It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
ROBERT BOYLE. 1627–1691.. (Manual, p. 261.)
FROM THE TREATISE "ON THE STYLE OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.”
166. PRACTICAL SUFFICIENCY OF THE GREAT PRINCIPLES OF
Morais. Whereas, as the condition of a monarch, who is possessed but of one kingdom or province, is preferable to that of a geographer, though he be able to discourse theoretically of the dimensions, situation, and motion, or stability of the whole terrestrial globe, to carve it into zones, climates, and parallels, to enumerate the various names and etymologies of its various regions, and give an account of the extent, the confines, the figure, the divisions, &c., of all the dominions and provinces of it; so the actual possession of one virtue is preferable to the bare speculative knowledge of them all. Their master, Aristotle, hath herein been more plain and less pedantic, who (by the favor of his interpreters) hath not been nice in the method of his ethics. And, indeed, but little theory is essentially requisite to the being virtuous, provided it be duly understood, and cordially put in practice: reason and discretion sufficing, analogically, to extend and apply it to the particular occurrences of life (which otherwise being so near infinite as to be indefinite, are not so easily specifiable in rules); as the view of the single pole-star directs the heedful pilot, in almost all the various courses of navigation. And the systems of moralists may (in this particular) not unfitly be compared to heaven, where there are luminaries and stars obvious to all eyes, that diffuse beams sufficient to light us in most ways; and as I, that, with modern astronomers, by an excellent telescope, have beheld perhaps near a hundred stars in the Pleiades, where common eyes see but six; and have often discerned in the Milky Way, and other pale parts of the firmament,
numberless little stars generally unseen, receive yet from heaven no more light useful to travel by, than other men enjoy; so there are certain grand principles and maxims in the ethics, which both are generally conspicuous, and generally afford men much light and much direction; but the numerous little notions (admit them truths) suggested by scholarship to ethical writers, and by them to us, though the speculation be not unpleasant, afford us very little peculiar light to guide our actions by.
John Howe. 1630-1705.
167. THE TEMPLE IN RUINS. That God hath withdrawn himself, and left this his temple desolate, we have many sad and plain proofs before us. The stately ruins are visible to every eye, that bear in their front (yet extant) this doleful inscription “ Here God once dwelt." Enough appears of the admirable frame and structure of the soul of man, to show the divine presence did some time reside in it; more than enough of vicious deformity, to proclaim he is now retired and gone. The lamps are extinct, the altar overturned; the light and love are now vanished, which did, the one shine with so heavenly brightness, the other burn with so pious fervor; the golden candlestick is displaced, and thrown away as a useless thing, to make room for the throne of the prince of darkness; the sacred incense, which sent rolling up in clouds its rich perfumes, is exchanged for a poisonous, hellish vapor, and here is, “ instead of a sweet savor, a stench.” The comely order of this house is turned all into confusion; “the beauties of holiness " into noisome impurities; the “house of prayer into a den of thieves,” and that of the worst and most horrid kind; for every lust is a thief, and every theft sacrilege : continual rapine and robbery are committed upon holy things. The noble powers which were designed and dedicated to divine contemplation and delight, are alienated to the service of the most despicable idols, and employed unto vilest intuitions and embraces; to behold and admire lying vanities, to indulge and cherish lust and wickedness. What have not the enemies done wickedly in the sanctuary? How have they broken down the carved work thereof, and that too with axes and hammers, the noise whereof was not to be heard in building, much less in the demolishing, this sacred frame! Look upon the fragment of that curious sculpture which once adorned the palace of that great king; the relics of common notions; the lively prints of some undefaced truth; the fair ideas of things; the yet legible precepts that relate to practice. Behold! with what accuracy the broken pieces show these to have been engraven by the finger of God, and how they now lie torn and scattered, one in this dark corner, another in that, buried in heaps of dirt and rubbish! There
is not now a system, an entire table of coherent truths to be found, or a frame of holiness, but some shivered parcels. And if any, with great toil and labor, apply themselves to draw out here one piece, and there another, and set them together, they serve rather to show how exquisite the divine workmanship was in the original composition, than for present use to the excellent purposes for which the whole was first designed.
GILBERT BURNET. 1643–1715. (Manual, p. 262.)
168. CHARACTER OF WILLIAM III. He had a thin and weak body, was brown-haired, and of a clear and delicate constitution. He had a Roman eagle nose, bright and sparkling eyes, a large front, and a countenance composed to gravity and authority. All his senses were critical and exquisite. He was always asthmatical; and the dregs of the small-pox falling on his lungs, he had a constant deep cough. His behavior was solemn and serious, seldom cheerful, and but with a few. He spoke little, and very slowly, and most commonly with a disgusting dryness, which was his character at all times, except in a day of battle; for then he was all fire, though without passion. He was then everywhere, and looked to everything. He had no great advantage from his education. De Witt's discourses were of great use to him; and he, being apprehensive of the observation of those who were looking narrowly into everything he said or did, had brought himself under an habitual caution that he could never shake off, though, in another sense, it proved as hurtful as it was then necessary to his affairs. He spoke Dutch, French, English, and German equally well; and he understood the Latin, Spanish, and Italian; so that he was well fitted to command armies composed of several nations. He had a memory that amazed all about him, for it never failed him. He was an exact observer of men and things. His strength lay rather in a true discerning and sound judgment than in imagination or invention. His designs were always great and good; but it was thought he trusted too much to that, and that he did not descend enough to the humors of his people to make himself and his notions more acceptable to them. This, in a government that has so much of freedom in it as ours, was more necessary than he was inclined to believe. His reservedness grew on him; so that it disgusted most of those who served him. But he had observed the errors of too much talking more than those of too cold a silence. He did not like contradiction, nor to have his actions censured; but he loved to employ and favor those who had the arts of complaisance; yet he did not love flatterers. His genius lay chiefly in war, in which his courage was more admired than his conduct. Great errors were often committed by him; but his heroical courage set things right, as it inflamed those
who were about him. He was too lavish of money on some occasions, both in his buildings and to his favorites; but too sparing in rewarding services, or in encouraging those who brought intelligence. He was apt to take ill impressions of people, and these stuck long with him; but he never carried them to indecent revenges. He gave too much way to his own humor almost in everything, not excepting that which related to his own health. He knew all foreign affairs well, and understood the state of every court in Europe very particularly. He instructed his own ministers himself; but he did not apply enough to affairs at home. He believed the truth of the Christian religion very firmly, and he expressed a horror of atheism and blasphemy; and though there was much of both in his court, yet it was always denied to him and kept out of his sight. He was most exemplarily decent and devout in the public exercises of the worship of God; only on week days he came too seldom to them. He was an attentive hearer of sermons, and was constant in his private prayers and in reading the Scriptures; and when he spoke of religious matters, which he did not often, it was with a becoming gravity. His indifference as to the forms of church government, and his being zealous for toleration, together with his cold behavior towards the clergy, gave them generally very ill impressions of him. In his deportment towards all about him, he seemed to make little distinction between the good and the bad, and those who served well or those who served him ill.
Sir Isaac Newton. 1642–1727. (Manual, p. 260.)
FROM A "LETTER TO LOCKE."
169. EFFECT OF AN EXPERIMENT UPON LIGHT. The observation you mention with Boyle's book of colors, I once made upon myself, with the hazard of my eyes. The manner was this; I looked a very little while upon the sun in the looking-glass with my right eye, and then turned my eyes into a dark corner of my chamber, and winked, to observe the impression made, and the circles of colors which encompassed it, and how they decayed by degrees, and at last vanished. This I repeated a second and a third time.
At the third time, when the phantasm of light and colors about it was almost vanished, intending my fancy upon them to see their last appearance, I found to my amazement that they began to return, and by little and little to become as lively and vivid as when I had newly looked upon the sun. But when I ceased to intend my fancy upon them, they vanished again. After this I found, that as often as I went into the dark and intended my mind upon them, as when a man looks earnestly to see anything which is difficult to be seen, I could make the phantasm return without looking any more upon the