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without dust and heat. This was the reason why our sage and serious poet, Spenser, describing true temperance under the person of Guion, brings him in with his palmer through the cave of Mammon and the bower of earthly bliss, that he might see and know and
traditions : yet may it be worth our while to seek for a few truths under a whole heap of rubbish.—BISHOP TAYLOR.
Nothing tends so much to the corruption of science as to suffer it to stagnate ; these waters must be troubled before they can exert their virtues.-BURKE.
There are errors which no wise man will treat with rudeness while there is a probability that they may be the refraction of some great truth as yet below the horizon.
Pythagoras, being asked by Hiero what he was, answered: If Hiero were ever at the Olympian games, he knew the manner, that some came to try their fortunes for the prizes ; some as merchants to utter their commodities; some to make good cheer and be merry, and to meet their friends; and some came to look on; and that he was one of them that came to look on : but men should know that, in this theatre of man's life, it is reserved only for God and angels to be lookers on.
LORD BACON. But according to Swift, even angels are not to be passive : the royal arms of Lilliput are, he says, “ An angel lifting a lame beggar from the earth.”
Lord Bacon abounds with observations to the same effect : he says," A contemplative life, which does not cast any beam of heat or light upon human society, is not known to divinity: and the necessity of advancing the public good, censures that philosophy which flies perturbations. Philosophy which introduces such a health of mind, as was that of Herodicus in body, who did nothing all his life, but intend his health. Sustine,' and not. Abstine,' was the commendation of Diogenes.”
Philosophy censures the tenderness of some men, who retire too easily from public life, to avoid indignity : but their solu
This is not the liberty which we can hope, that no grievance ever should arise in the commonwealth,
tion ought not to be so fine, that every thing may catch in it and tear it.- LORD BACON.
Are we not all passively kind, that is, do we not all, in a greater or less degree, enjoy the pleasures of kindness; and does not the chief difference consist in active and passive kindness. “ The cause which I knew not, I searched out," are the words of Job :- I was an hungred and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger and ye took me in ; naked and ye clothed me; I was sick and ye
visited me; I was in prison and ye came unto me,” is the language of christianity.
Yet even this, this cold beneficence
COLERIDGE. Of the duty of activity Milton and Bacon are illustrious examples ; Milton says, “ When that task of answering the king's defence was enjoined me by public authority, being both in an ill state of health, and the sight of one eye almost gone already, the physicians openly predicting the loss of both, if I undertook this labour ; yet nothing terrified by their premonition, I did not long balance whether my duty should be preferred to my eyes.”
We all remember his noble sonnet descriptive of this blind.
Cyriac, this three years day, these eyes, tho' clear
that let no man in this world expect; but when complaints are freely heard, deeply considered, and
Against heaven's hand, or will, nor bate one jot
How deeply Milton felt the sacrifice which he made, may be collected from the following effusion :
With small willingness I endure to interrupt the pursuit of no less hopes than those, and leave a calm and pleasing solitariness, fed with cheerful and confident thoughts, to embark in a troubled sea of noises and hoarse disputes, put from beholding the bright countenance of truth, in the quiet and still air of delightful studies, to come into the dim reflection of hollow antiquities sold by the seeming bulk, and there be fain to club quotations with men whose learning and belief lies in marginal stuffings.
So, too, Lord Bacon says, “We judge also that mankind may conceive some hopes from our example, which we offer, not by way of ostentation, but because it may be useful. If any one therefore should despair, let him consider a man as much employed in civil affairs as any other of his age, a man of no great share of health, who must therefore have lost much time, and yet in this undertaking, he is the first that leads the way, unassisted by any mortal, and steadfastly entering the true path, that was absolutely untrod before, and submitting his mind to things, may somewhat have advanced the design."
How beautifully does Lord Bacon warn us that we ought not too soon to encounter the world. “ As the fable
of the basilisk, that if he see a man first the man dies; but if a man see him first the basilisk dies ; so it is with frauds, impostures and evil arts,—if a man discover them first, they lose their power of doing hurt; but if they are not seen, they are dangerous.”
speedily reformed, then is the utmost bound of civil liberty attained that wise men look for.*
I deny not, but that it is of the greatest concernment in the church and commonwealth, to have a vigilant eye how books demean themselves as well as men; and thereafter to confine, imprison, and do sharpest justice on them as malefactors; for books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a progeny of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively, and as vigorously productive, as those fabulous dragons' teeth ; and being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men.
LICENSERS OF THE PRESS.
Lest some should persuade ye, lords and commons, that these arguments of learned men's discouragement at this your order are mere flourishes and not real, I could recount what I have seen and heard in other countries, where this kind of inqui
* This is true liberty, when free-born men,
Having to advise the public, may speak free.
sition tyrannizes ; when I have sat among their learned men, (for that honour I had,) and been counted happy to be born in such a place of philosophic freedom, as they supposed England was, while themselves did nothing but bemoan the servile condition into which learning amongst them was brought; that this was it which had damped the glory of Italian wits; that nothing had been there written now these many years but flattery and fustian. There it was that I found and visited the famous Galileo grown old, a prisoner to the inquisition, for thinking in astronomy otherwise than the franciscan and dominican licensers thought.*
ENGLAND AND LONDON.
LORDS and commons of England ! consider what nation it is whereof ye are, and whereof ye are the governors : a nation not slow and dull, but of a quick, ingenious and piercing spirit; acute to invent, subtle and sinewy to discourse, not beneath the reach of any point the highest that human capacity can soar to. Therefore the studies of learning in her deepest sciences have been so ancient and so eminent among us, that writers of good antiquity and able judgment have been persuaded that even the school of Pythagoras and the Persian wisdom, took beginning from the old philosophy
* Would not this be a fine subject for an artist?