arguments and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are, like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man; and, therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not. Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend.


But to speak in a mean, the virtue of prosperity is temperance, the virtue of adversity is fortitude, which in morals is the more heroical virtue. Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament, adversity is the blessing of the New, which carrieth the greater benediction, and the clearer revelation of God's favor. Yet even in the Old Testament, if you listen to David's harp, you shall hear as many hearse-like airs as carols; and the pencil of the Holy Ghost hath labored more in describing the afflictions of Job than the felicities of Solomon. Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes. We see in needle-works and embroideries, it is more pleasing to have a lively work upon a sad and solemn ground, than to have a dark and melancholy work upon a lightsome ground: judge, therefore, of the pleasure of the heart by the pleasure of the eye. Certainly virtue is like precious odors, most fragrant when they are incensed, or crushed : for prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue.

60. OF DISCOURSE. Some in their discourse desire rather commendation of wit, in being able to hold all arguments, than of judgment, in discerning what is true; as if it were a praise to know what might be said, and not what should be thought. Some have certain common-places and themes, wherein they are good, and want variety: which kind of poverty is for the most part tedious, and, when it is once perceived, ridiculous. The honorablest part of talk is to give the occasion; and again to moderate and pass to somewhat else, for then a man leads the dance. It is good in discourse, and speech of conversation, to vary and intermingle speech of the present occasion with arguments, tales with reasons, asking of questions with telling of opinions, and jest with earnest; for it is a dull thing to tire, and as we say now, to jade anything too far. As for jest, there be certain things which ought to be privileged from it; namely, religion, matters of state, great persons, any man's present business of importance, and any case that deserveth pity; yet there be some that think their wits have been asleep, except

they dart out somewhat that is piquant, and to the quick; that is a vein which would be bridled. And, generally, men ought to find the difference between saltness and bitterness. Certainly, he that hath a satirical vein, as he maketh others afraid of his wit, so he had need be afraid of others' memory. He that questioneth much, shall learn much, and content much; but especially if he apply his questions to the skill of the persons whom he asketh; for he shall give them occasion to please themselves in speaking, and himself shall continually gather knowledge; but let his questions not be troublesome, for that is fit for a poser; and let him be sure to leave other men their turns to speak: nay, if there be any that would reign and take up all the time, let him find means to take them off, and to bring others on, as musicians use to do with those that dance too long galliards. If you dissemble sometimes your knowledge of that you are thought to know, you shall be thought, another time, to know that you know not. Speech of a man's self ought to be seldom, and well-chosen.


I had rather believe all the fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, than that this universal frame is without a Mind. And therefore God never wrought miracle to convince Atheism; because his ordinary works convince it. It is true that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to Atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to Religion : for, while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no farther; but, when it beholdeth the chain of them, confed-, erate and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity. The Scripture saith, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God;” it is not said, “The fool hath thought in his heart:" so as he rather saith it by rote to himself, as that he would have, than that he can thoroughly believe it or be persuaded of it. For none deny there is a God, but those for whom it maketh that there were no God. But the great Atheists, indeed, are hypocrites, which are ever handling holy things, but without feeling. They that deny a God, destroy man's nobility: for certainly man is of kin to the beasts by his body: and, if he be not akin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature. It destroys likewise magnanimity and the raising of human nature: for, take an example of a dog, and mark what a generosity and courage he will put on when he finds himself maintained by a man, who to him is instead of a God or Melior Natura : which courage is manifestly such, as that creature, without that confidence of a better nature than his own, could never attain. So man, when he resteth and assureth himself upon Divine protection and favour, gathereth a force and faith, which human nature in itself could not obtain. Therefore, as Atheism is in all respects hateful, so in this, that it depriveth human nature of the means to exalt itself above human frailty.

From the Introduction to “The Great Restauration."


The sixth and last part of our work, to which all the rest are subservient, is to lay down that philosophy which shall flow from the just, pure, and strict inquiry hitherto proposed. But to perfect this, is beyond both our abilities and our hopes, yet we shall lay the foundations of it, and recommend the superstructure to posterity. We design no contemptible beginning to the work; and anticipate that the fortune of mankind will lead it to such a termination as is not possible for the present race of men to conceive. The point in view is not only the contemplative happiness, but the whole fortunes, and affairs, and power, and works, of men. For man being the minister and interpreter of nature, acts and understands so far as he has observed of the order, the works, and mind, of nature, and can proceed no farther; for no power is able to loose or break the chain of causes, nor is nature to be conquered but by submission : whence those twin intentions, human knowledge and human power, are really coincident; and the greatest hinderance to works, is the ignorance of


The capital precept for the whole undertaking is this, that the eye of the mind be never taken off from things themselves, but receive their images truly as they are. And God forbid that ever we should offer the dreams of fancy for a model of the world; but rather in his kindness vouchsafe to us the means of writing a revelation and true vision of the traces and moulds of the Creator in his creatures.

May thou, therefore, O Father, who gavest the light of vision as the first fruit of creation, and who hast spread over the fall of man the light of thy understanding as the accomplishment of thy works, guard and direct this work, which, issuing from thy goodness, seeks in return thy glory! When thou hadst surveyed the works which thy hands had wrought, all seemed good in thy sight, and thou restedst. But when man turned to the works of his hands, he found all vanity and vexation of spirit, and experienced no rest. If, however, we labour in thy works, thou wilt make us to partake of thy vision and sabbath; we, therefore, humbly beseech thee to strengthen our purpose, that thou mayst be willing to endow thy family of mankind with new gifts, through our hands, and the hands of those in whom thou shalt implant the same spirit.

From the Advancement of Learning. Book I. $ 6.

63. THE BENEFIT OF LEARNING. If it be objected, that learning takes up much time, which might be better employed, I answer that the most active or busy men have many vacant hours, while they expect the tides and returns of busi

ness; and then the question is, how those spaces of leisure shall be filled up, whether with pleasure or study? Demosthenes being taunted by Æschines, a man of pleasure, that his speeches smelt of the lamp, very pertly retorted, “There is great difference between the objects which you and I pursue by lamp-light.” No fear, therefore, that learning should displace business, for it rather keeps and defends the mind against idleness and pleasure, which might otherwise enter to the prejudice both of business and learning.

For the allegation that learning should undermine the reverence due to laws and government, it is a mere calumny, without shadow of truth; for to say that blind custom of obedience should be a safer obligation than duty, taught and understood, is to say that a blind man may tread surer by a guide than a man with his eyes open can by a light. And, doubtless, learning makes the mind gentle and pliable to government, whereas ignorance renders it churlish and mutinous; and it is always found that the most barbarous, rude, and ignorant times have been most tumultuous, changeable, and seditious.

From the Advancement of Learning. Close of Book I,


To conclude, the dignity and excellence of knowledge and learning is what human nature most aspires to for the securing of immortality, which is also endeavoured after by raising and ennobling families, by buildings, foundations, and monuments of fame, and is in effect the bent of all other human desires. But we see how much more durable the monuments of genius and learning are than those of the hand. The verses of Homer have continued above five and twenty hundred years without loss, in which time numberless palaces, temples, castles, and cities have been demolished and are fallen to ruin. It is impossible to have the true pictures or statues of Cyrus, Alexander, Cæsar, or the great personages of much later date, for the originals cannot last, and the copies must lose life and truth; but the images of men's knowledge remain in books, exempt from the injuries of time, and capable of perpetual renovation. Nor are these properly called images; because they generate still, and sow their seed in the minds of others, so as to cause infinite actions and opinions in succeeding ages. If, therefore, the invention of a ship was thought so noble, which carries commodities from place to place and consociateth the remotest regions in participation of their fruits, how much more are letters to be valued, which, like ships, pass through the vast ocean of time, and convey knowledge and inventions to the remotest ages? Nay, some of the philosophers who were most immersed in the senses, and denied the immortality of the soul, yet allowed that whatever motions the spirit of man could perform without the organs of the body might remain after death, which are only those of the understanding and not of the

affections, so immortal and incorruptible a thing did knowledge appear to them. And thus having endeavored to do justice to the cause of knowledge, divine and human, we shall leave Wisdom to be justified of her children.

Advancement of Learning. Book III., chap. II.


Divine philosophy is a science, or rather the rudiments of a science, derivable from God by the light of nature, and the contemplation of his creatures; so that with regard to its object, it is truly divine; but with regard to its acquirement, natural. The bounds of this knowledge extend to the confutation of atheism, and the ascertaining the laws of nature, but not to the establishing of religion. And, therefore, God never wrought a miracle to convert an atheist, because the light of nature is sufficient to demonstrate a deity; but miracles were designed for the conversion of the idolatrous and superstitious, who acknowledged a God, but erred in their worship of him — the light of nature being unable to declare the will of God, or assign the just form of worshipping him. For as the power and skill of a workman are seen in his works, but not his person, so the works of God express the wisdom and omnipotence of the Creator, without the least representation of his image. And in this particular, the opinion of the heathens differed from the sacred verity, as supposing the world to be the image of God, and man a little image of the world. The Scripture never gives the world that honour, but calls it the work of his hands; making only man the image of God. And, therefore, the being of a God, that he governs the world, that he is all-powerful, wise, prescient, good, a just rewarder and punisher, and to be adored, may be shown and enforced from his works; and many other wonderful secrets, with regard to his attributes, and much more as to his dispensation and government over the universe, may also be solidly deduced, and made appear from the same. And this subject has been usefully treated by several.

ROBERT BURTON. 1576–1640. (Manual, p. 104.).

From the Anatomy of Melancholy. 66. PHILAUTIA, OR SELF-LOVE, A CAUSE OF MELANCHOLY. Now the common cause of this mischief ariseth from ourselves or others: we are active and passive. It proceeds inwardly from ourselves, as we are active causes, from an overweening conceit we have of our good parts, own worth (which indeed is no worth), our bounty, favour, grace, valour, strength, wealth, patience, meekness, hospitality, beauty, temperance, gentry, knowledge, wit, science, art, learning,

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