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After the Restoration he contrived various ways to shield Milton from the rage of the reigning powers. As a member of parliament he made a considerable party for him; and it is probable that his humor contrived the premature and mock funeral of Milton, which is reported, for a time, to have duped his enemies into the belief of his real death: and to this manly friendship, in conjunction with the influence of the poet Davenant, is the world probably in debted for Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, subsequently completed and published. One of Marvell's sarcastic replies to Parker was attributed to Milton; to which Marvell replies by telling his antagonist that “he had not seen John Milton for two years before he composed his book;" and then he thus speaks of
John Milton was, and is, a man of as great learning and sharpness of wit as any man. It was his misfortune, living in a tumultuous time, to be tossed on the wrong side; and he wrote, flagrante bello, certain dangerous treatises. At his majesty's happy return, John Milton did partake, even as you did yourself, for all your buffing, of his regal clemency, and has ever since expiated himself in a retired silence. It was after that, I well remember it, that being one day at his house, I there first met you, and accidentally. What discourse you there used, he is too generous to remember. But he never having in the least provoked you, for you to insult thus over his old age, to traduce him who was born and hath lived much more ingenuously and liberally than yourself; to have done all this, and lay, at last, my simple book to his charge, without ever taking care to inform yourself better, which you had so easy opportunity to do; it is inhumanly and in hospitably done, and will, I hope, be a warning to all others, as it is to me, to avoid (I will not say such a Judas, but), a man that creeps into all companies, to jeer, trepan, and betray them.
Marvell's poetical productions are few, but they display a fancy lively, tender, and elegant; “there is much in them that comes from the heart, warm, pure, and affectionate.”
And sends the fowls to us in care,
With falling oars they kept the time.
The wanton troopers riding by
But I am sure, for aught that I
For it was nimbler much than hinds,
OWEN FELLTHAM. Died 1678. Of the personal history of Owen Felltham we know but very little. Even the accomplished editor of his works, after many years of unwearied search, was not able to find any thing satisfactory relative to his life. He remarks: “There are few English writers, perhaps none, who enjoyed any consider. able celebrity in the ages in which they lived, of whom less is known, than of the author of the Resolves; and what is particularly remarkable, though this production of his pen has passed through no less than twelve editions, I do not find the name of Owen Felltham to have been made the subject of an article in any of our printed biographical collections."
The chief work of Felltham is, his « Resolves, Divine, Moral, and Politi cal,” consisting of two “Centuries," as he calls them, that is, of two parts containing each one hundred Essays or “Resolves." They consist of a series of essays on subjects connected with religion, morality, and the conduct of life; and they appear to have been termed « Resolves,” because, at the con clusion of each essay, the author generally forms resolutions for his own con duct drawn from his own precepts. In this direct, personal application, they differ from the “ Essays" of Lord Bacon, to which they otherwise bear a frequent resemblance in manner, and still more in matter. The style of Fell. tham is not always equal; but is generally strong, harmonious, and well adapted to the subjects of which he treats. He is prodigal of metaphor and quotation, and on that account has been accused of pedantry; but his figures are always beautifully illustrative of his subject, and his quotations generally appropriate. As to his sentiments, they are remarkable for their sound, good sense, as well as for their great purity of moral and religious principle.
1 "Resolves, Divine, Moral, and Political.” A new edition, &c., by James Cumming, Esq. London, 1806. 8vo. Read, also, an excellent article in the Retrospective Review, x. 343, the writer of which concludes with these remarks: “We lay aside the "Resolves,' as we part from our dearest friends, in the hope of frequently returning to them. We recommend the whole of them to the perusal of our readers. They will find therein more solid maxims, as much piety, and far better writing, than in most of the pulpit lectures now current among us."
WE ARE HAPPY OR MISERABLE BY COMPARISON. There is not in this world either perfect misery or perfect happiness. Comparisoh, more than reality, makes men happy, and can make them wretched. What should we account miserable, if we did not lay it in the balance with something that hath more felicity? If we saw not some men vaulting in the gay trim of honor and greatness, we should never think a poor estate so lamentable. Were all the world ugly, deformity would be no monster. It is, without doubt, our eyes gazing at others above, casts us into a shade, which, before that time, we met not with. It is envy and ambition that makes us far moré miserable than the constitution which our liberal nature hath allotted
Many never find themselves in want, till they have discovered the abundance of some others. It was comparison that first kindled the fire, to burn Troy withal. Give it to the fairest, was it, which jarred the Goddesses. Paris might have given the ball with less offence, had it not been so inscribed. Surely Juno was content with her beauty, till the Trojan youth cast her, by advancing Venus. While we spy no joys above our own, we in quiet count them blessings. We see even a few companions can lighten our miseries: by which we may guess the effect of à generality. Blackness, a flat nose, thick lips, and goggled eyes, are beauties, where nor shapes nor colors differ. He is much impatient, that refuseth the general lot. For myself, I will reckon that misery, which I find hurts me in myself; not that which, coming from another, I may avoid, if I will.
I Let me examine whether that I enjoy, be not enough to felicitate me, if I stay at home. If it be, I would not have another's better fortune put me out of conceit with my own. In outward things, I will look to those that are beneath me; that if I must build myself out of others, I may rather raise content than murmur. But for accomplishments of the mind, I will ever fix on those above me; that I may, out of an honest emulation, mend myself by continual striving to imitate their nobleness.
It is a hard thing among men of inferior rank to speak to an earthly prince: no king keeps a court so open as to give admittance to all comers : and though they have, they are not sure to speed ; albeit there be nothing that should make their petitions not grantable. Oh how happy, how privileged then is a Christian! who though he often lives here in a slight esteem, yet can he freely confer with the King of Heaven; who not only hears his entreaties, but delights in his requests ; invites him to come, and promiseth a happy welcome; which he shows in fulfilling his desires, or better, fitter for him: in respect of whom, the greatest monarch is more base than the basest vassal in regard of the most mighty and puissant emperor. Man cannot so much exceed a beast, as God doth him : what if I be not known to the Nimrods of the world, and the peers of the earth? I can speak to their better, to their Master; and by prayer be familiar with him. Importunity does not anger him; neither can any thing but our sins make us go away empty. My comfort is, my access to heaven is as free as the prince's; my departure from earth not so grievous : for while the world smiles on him, I am sure I have less reason to love it than he. God's favor I will chiefly seek for; man's, but as it falls in the way to it: when it proves a hinderance, I hate to be loved.
OF FAITH AND WORKS.
Works without Faith are like a salamander without fire, or a fish without water: in which, though there may seem to be some quick actions of life, and symptoms of agility, yet they are, indeed, but forerunners of their end, and the very presages of death. Faith again without Works is like a bird without wings: who, though she may hop with her companions here upon earth, yet if she live till the world ends, she will never fly to heaven. But when both are joined together, then doth the soul mount up to the hill of eternal rest: these can bravely raise her to her first height: yea carry her beyond it; taking away both the will that did betray her, and the possibility that might. The former without the latter is self-cozenage; the last without the former is mere hypocrisy; together, the excellency of religion. Faith is the rock, while every good action is as a stone laid ; one the foundation, the other the structure. The foundation without the walls is of slender value: the building without a basis cannot stand. They are so inseparable, as their conjunction makes them good. Chiefly will I labor for a sure foundation, saving Faith; and equally I will seek for strong walls, good Works. For as man judgeth the house by the edifice, more than by the foundation: so, not according to his Faith, but according to his Works, shall God judge man.
SEDULITY AND DILIGENCE.
There is no such prevalent workman as sedulity, and diligence. A man would wonder at the mighty things which have been